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Osun Debt: Citizen Invokes Freedom Of Information Act

The government of Osun state is facing seven day ultimatum to release information on the state of indebtedness of the state in compliance with the spirit and letters of the Freedom of Information Act,2011.

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola

Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola

This is sequel to conflicting reports about the debt profile of the state. While opposition People’s Democratic Party alleged that the debt is now four hundred and fifty billions naira, the State Government had disputed the figures but gave no official account of the debt profile.

A citizen of Osun  state, Chief Raphael Adedayo is seeking to compel the State government to release information on the debt profile by invoking section 4 of the 2011 Act.

In a letter dated January 15th and received in the office of the state commissioner for Finance the same day, the solicitor to Chief Adedayo, Kehinde Adesiyan and co. Invoked section 4 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act to demand for some specific information on the state f finance of Osun  state.

The specific information requested include the debt portfolio of the state including indebtedness to bodies and organizations total stock of fund sourced from the capital market and how much has been repaid, the total amount of loans so far taken from Zenith, First and Sterling banks and how much has been repaid and any other loans taken from local or international financial institutions.

The letter informed the Commissioner for Finance that he is bound by law to provide the requested information within seven days as the public officer in charge of finance of Osun state in line with section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act,2011.

The letter went ahead to quote the section of the law as follows: “where public information is requested for under this section, the public institution to which the request is made shall, subject to section 6,7,8 of this act, shall within 7 days after the application is received (a) make the information available to the applicant or (b) where the public institution consider that the application should be denied, the institution shall give written notice to the applicant that access to all or part of the information requested will not be granted”

It was learnt that the neither the ministry of finance nor the finance commissioner has responded to the request for information on the state finance.

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