Court orders NPC to release details on how money was spent on the aborted 2023 Census

A Federal High Court, Abuja, has ordered NPC (National Population Commission) to release details of spending on the aborted 2023 Population and Housing Census to Opatola Victor, an Abuja based lawyer, within 7 days.

NPC headquarters, Abuja

Justice Inyang Ekwo issued the order in Abuja on Thursday 22 Feb 2024 while delivering judgment in a suit instituted against the commission.

Opatola Victor

The judge declared that the refusal by NPC to release the information or records of spending on the aborted census as requested by the lawyer on March 30, 2023, was wrongful, illegal, and unconstitutional.

Justice Inyang Ekwo

Justice Ekwo also noted that the position of the commission that the record sought by the plaintiff was already in public domain was not tenable because the request of the plaintiff was the record which is at the disposal of the commission, not the one in public domain.

Federal High Court headquarters, Abuja

Opatola had in a suit marked FHC/ABJ/CS/ 503/2023 prayed the court for an order that the refusal of the commission to make the record of spending on the aborted census among others available to him was a breach of his rights under Section 4 of the FOI Act 2012.

He prayed the court for an order of mandamus compelling the commission to make the requested records available to him in line with the provisions of FOI (Freedom Of Information) Act.

Although the plaintiff also requested a compensation of N500,000 for the breach of his rights by NPC under the FOI Act, Justice Ekwo turned down the request for compensation on the grounds that the commission was not convicted of offence.