Federal High Court Orders NDDC Compliance with Freedom of Information Request

The Niger Delta Development Commission building

In a significant development, the Federal High Court in Lagos has ruled in favor of the Human and Environmental Development Agenda (HEDA) Resource Centre, directing the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) to honor a Freedom of Information request. The court’s decision mandates the NDDC to provide a detailed breakdown of projects identified in Ese-Odo, Ilaje, Irele, and Okitipupa.

Initiating legal action against the NDDC in suit FHC/C/CS/250/2021, the HEDA Resource Centre, a civil society organization, sought to compel the Commission to furnish requested information regarding project details in the specified areas since 2021.

On February 17, 2021, HEDA submitted a Motion on Notice, seeking a mandamus order to ensure compliance with the Freedom of Information Act. The court ruled in favor of the applicant, ordering the NDDC to provide the comprehensive details outlined in HEDA’s request dated February 17, 2021.

HEDA Resource Centre’s investigation in November 2020 brought to light 29 abandoned projects in Ondo State, worth billions of naira. Ilaje Local Government Area had 12 projects, Okitipupa LGA had 11 projects, Ese-Odo LGA had four projects, and Irele LGA had two projects. The report detailed the contractors involved, including their corporate registration documents and directorship.

Despite some contractors resorting to loans to execute projects, the NDDC failed to remunerate them as agreed, resulting in project abandonment. The court’s ruling underscores the importance of transparency and accountability as mandated by the Freedom of Information Act. It marks a significant triumph for HEDA Resource Centre in its pursuit of vital information regarding project breakdowns in Ese-Odo, Ilaje, Irele, and Okitipupa from the Niger Delta Development Commission.

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