Absence of attorney-general stalls FoI suit against Rivers varsity

By Brave Dickson

The absence of the Rivers State Attorney General or his legal representative in court has stalled the hearing of an FoI suit brought by Mr Mark Lenu against the Rivers State University (1st defendant), its Vice-Chancellor (2nd defendant) and the state attorney general (3rd defendant).

Counsel to the plaintiff, Barr Kingdom Chukwuezie told our correspondent that: “The counsel to the Attorney General of Rivers State was absent in court. He did not send a representative or transmits a letter, to the court, excusing himself from the court proceedings.

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“However, the state attorney general had earlier filed a motion to enable them to come in properly. Because they filed their counter-affidavit and written address out of time as allowed by the rules of the court.

“We told the court that we intend to reply to what they have filed because we discovered that their contention runs contrary to the position of the law.

“So, the court indulged us to file our further affidavit and reply on point of law on the issues that they have raised in their address.

“And the court subsequently adjourned the case to the 27th day of January 2020 for hearing.”

Meanwhile, in a sister suit against the University of Port Harcourt, its Vice-Chancellor and the Attorney General of the Federation, Barr Chukwuezie said: “The counsels to the litigants have all filed and turned in all their processes and all the processes have been exchanged.

“What is now left to be done is the argument and adoption of all the processes before the court so that the court can hear and adjourn the matter for judgement.

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“The court, therefore, adjourned the matter to the 20th of January, 2020 for hearing.

You recall that the plaintiff, Mr Lenu in the duo suits approached the court when certain information he requested from the universities met brick walls.

The plaintiff, in his reliefs before the court is asking the court to declare the refusal by the universities to furnish him with the requested information as unlawful and in gross violation of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 among others.

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