The FCT High Court sitting in Kwali has granted leave to High Chief Dauda Ajadosu, an Abuja based legal practitioner, to seek an order of mandamus against the Ministry of the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja over the latter’s lackluster attitude towards the construction of the road networks in the Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja.
Granting his trinity prayers contained in the application, the court ruled that the Applicant can sue the Ministry for the latter’s refusal and failure to grant the applicant access to some information he had earlier requested from the Ministry.
From the affidavit in support of the applicant’s motion for leave, it was gathered that the applicant had earlier demanded for an access to some information bothering on the road networks under construction within the Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja, the roads which according to him, the FCT Ministry had abandoned more than 2 years ago. The applicant’s letter of request which was exhibited before the court is dated 14th March, 2023. In his verifying affidavit filed in support of the application deposed to by the applicant, the applicant stated that upon receipt of his request routed vide the FOIA, the Ministry ignored, refused and denied him the information which is against the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
Chief Ajadosu stated further that this is the second time he would be demanding information with respect to road networks within the Gwagwalada Area Council which have been abandoned for over two years of their commencement of construction.
Chief Ajadosu noted that the Ministry has been fond of commencing construction of roads and abandoning them halfway despite the significance of the roads to the socio economic development of the council area.
*’When I demanded information about the roads under construction which had been abandoned in the area council, I realized the Ministry mobilized contractors back to site in one of the roads, that’s about the Gwagwalada International Market road linking Radio House junction. It is not funny…*
*However, of special interest are Park road off Lokoja expressway which links Demonstration School junction and Agunma palace road to radio house junction which have been under construction for more than two years and now abandoned, likewise Gwagwalada International Market road. I can authoritatively submit that the three road networks are not up to 5 kilometers. But it has been herculean to work the road’, he remarked before the court.*
The applicant has approached the Federal Capital Territory High Court Abuja in order to compel the Ministry of the FCT to make the information about the road networks available to him in line with the statutory requirements of the FOIA. This will enable us know what’s wrong and why it is difficult to complete roads of significant importance to the lives and economy of its users.
At the hearing of the applicant’s ex parte motion in the suit marked FCT/HC/GWD/CV/227/2023 between Chief Dauda Ajadosu and Ministry of the FCT, Abuja, the presiding Judge, Hon Justice J. A Aina granted all the applicant’s prayers contained in his application for leave for judicial review for mandamus. Freedom of Information Act, 2011 is the legal regime which grants Nigerians legal right to request access into the information of public institutions in Nigeria.
Immediately after his prayers were given judicial imprimatur, the legal practitioner spoke on what prompted the suit which he described as public interest litigation, High Chief Ajadosu said that Gwagwalada road networks are in bad state and when the ministry of the FCT commenced construction of any of the roads, it did same without desired commitment. He said the roads which are the subject matter of the suit are very germane to the socio economic development of the Area Council.
The return date for the case is 26th June, 2023 when the court will hear parties in the case.