Citizen drags government, OSOPADEC to court over non-disclosures
A lawyer and rights activist, Barrister Adeyemi Nejo has dragged the Ondo State government and Ondo State Oil Producing Area Development Commission (OSOPADEC), to court over non-compliance with the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2011, that makes government accountable to the masses.
In a suit at the Federal High Court, Abuja, Suit No: FHC/ABJ/CS/706/15, Nejo filed a legal action against OSOPADEC for refusing to grant information on the capital projects in the mandate areas, the exact locations of the projects, the exact amount earmarked for the projects and the state of execution from 2010 to 2014; if any.
The applicant, who hails from Ode-Mahin in Ilaje Local Government Area, pointed out that “crude oil extraction/exploration activities have been carried out in Oroto town, Awoye, Ilowo Obe etc; towns within Ilaje local government area,” stating that “my family compounds have been drastically affected by these exploration/extraction.”
As spelt out in the suit: “That as a result, the Federal Government in order to ameliorate our pains and to provide succour to those of us living within the oil exploration/extraction areas provided a fund for the development of our area known as 13 per cent oil derivation fund.”
The litigant justified his action saying, “Ever since the commission was established in year 2003, I have not noticed any meaningful development in the area where my family compound is located, but rather oil exploration/extraction have been on the increase with its attendant pollution and land devastation.”
He principally sued OSOPADEC and the governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, and joined the Attorney-General of the state, the Minister of Finance, Federal Ministry of Finance and the Accountant-General of the Federation as 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th respondents respectively for failure to grant his first application on June 15, 2015.
According to him, the commission, which is directly controlled by the 2nd respondent and keeps parts of the funds allocated to the state under the 13 per cent oil derivation fund, has failed in carrying out its functions as clearly spelt out in Part II Section 6(i)-(vii) of the law establishing OSOPADEC in 2003 that was marked as “Exhibit A.”