Federal High Court strikes out FOI suit against HYPREP

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Ugochukwu Iwuchukwu

A Federal High Court sitting in Port Harcourt has struck out a Freedom of Information bill suit filed by Ogoni Youth Federation against Hydro Carbon Remediation Project, HYPREP, on technical ground.

Ogoni Youth Federation has gone to court to seek judicial redress over the inability of HYPREP to provide them with information over the disbursement of the initial ten million dollars mapped out by the Federal Government as take-off grants for the project.

Justice.E.OBILE while delivering judgment on the suit ruled that HYPREP cannot be sued because it was not established by an act of the National Assembly.

The Court said that Ogoni Youth Federation did not follow the right judicial process in filing their suit.

The court also declared that the federal government is the proper party to the suit and not HYPREP.

Reacting to the court judgment, the Lawyer of Ogoni Youth Federation, Epsibari Pygbara said he will meet his client to review the case.

He said striking out the suit will be a set back to the clean-up of oil impacted sites in Ogoniland.

Pygbara noted that Ogoni Youth Federation would re-filed the case after careful review of the matter.

The lawyer to HYPREP, ADAEZE AMAEFULE, however, declined comment on the judgment.

In the meantime, the President of Ogoni Youth Federation OYF LEGBORSI YEMABAMA has called for the establishment of the Ogoni Environmental Restoration Authority as recommended by the United Nations.

He said such a move will speed up the clean-up of oil impacted sites in Ogoni land.

“Today we are happy that the judgment has been delivered, however, we are not comfortable with the outcome of the judgment. But one thing that struck our minds is that the court has said today that HYPREP is merely an agency created by a notice of the Federal Ministry of Environment and that HYPREP cannot sue or be sued which means that the agency has no teeth to bite.

“And Ogoni Youths is hereby calling for the immediate establishment of the Ogoni Environmental Restoration Authority as recommended by the United Nations. Until this has been done, Ogoni people will continue to suffer issues of accountability and transparency on the Ogoni cleanup project which will ultimately affect the clean-up exercise”. he said.