$10M take-off fund: Court grants ex parte to Ogoni youths against FG, HYPREP

A federal high court sitting in Port Harcourt has granted an ex parte motion to the Ogoni youths federation.

The Ogoni youth federation had filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act, 2011, against the federal Ministry of Environment and Hydrocarbon pollution remediation project. (HYPREP)

The applicants in the suit requested information from the 2nd defendant under the freedom of information act, but was denied access to the information, adding that the refusal by the 2nd defendant to provide the requested information is unconscionable, unwarranted and constitutes an excessive abuse of the exercise of powers granted to the 2nd defendant which is an institution that owes accountability to the public.

The applicants also requested information on how the $10, 000, 000. 00 (Ten million Dollars) initially released as take-off grant for the Ogoni clean up was spent and a list of all the persons that benefited from the said medical outreach, containing their full names and ailments.

The presiding judge, Justice E. A. Obile adjourned the case for the claimants to serve the original summons to the defendants.

Speaking to our reporter Tina Amanda, Asuk Ikpoko, counsel to the claimants, Ogoni youths federation, said they will serve the defendant the original summons before the next sitting.

“The court understood the matter before it and granted the motion ex parte, the court asked us to serve original summons to the 2nd defendant and bring the proof of service to the court to be filed.

“The court adjourned for the defendants to come to court and state their own case based on the principles of fair hearing”

Also speaking, President Ogoni youth federation, Legborsi Yamaabana, said HYPREP should stop playing politics with the lives of Ogoni people and clean up Ogoniland.

“We are in court because we are peaceful youths who do want to carry arms, that is why we seek Judicial review to press home our demands for accountability.

“The cleanup money does not belong to any individual or agency, but the money is for the Ogoni people and Ogoni environment, so we the youths will not sit down and fold our hands and watch the funds being misappropriated”