The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, granted Paradigm Initiative, the leave to apply for judicial relief and compel the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology to show cause on its refusal to provide information on the Initiative’s freedom of information request. Paradigm Initiative is a frontline Pan-African digital right advocacy organisation with headquarters in Nigeria.

Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court Abuja gave the order granting leave after an ex-parte motion by Paradigm Initiative’s Counsel, Mr Olumide Babalola. The order has paved way for the applicant to move ahead with its case against the Ministry and the Hon Minister of Science and Technology, the respondents in the suit.

It would be recalled that Paradigm Initiative recently dragged respondents to court when the Ministry refused to address a freedom of information request on a proposed satellite launch. The freedom of information request was made to ascertain the details of the proposed launch of two satellites by the National Space Development and Research Agency (NASDRA), an agency under the supervision of the Ministry.

In the suit filed June 1, 2017, with suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/481/2017, the applicant seeks “a declaration that the failure and/or refusal of the respondents to disclose or make available to the Applicant the information requested by the applicant’s letter dated 3^rd day of May 2017 amounts to a violation of the Applicant’s right of access to information as guaranteed by Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information
Act, 2011.’’

The applicant is also seeking an order of mandamus compelling the Respondents to disclose or make the following information available to the applicant: the specifications of the two new satellites to be launched by the Respondents and details of their intended use.

The matter has been adjourned to 29th September 2017 for hearing.

By Dotun Roy is a development driven news website with the overall goal of amplifying, promoting and advocating for positive societal change through Sustainable Development advocacy in line with UN SDGs components such as education, environmental sustainability and Climate Change, Human Rights, health, finance, housing, good governance as well as security in Nigeria and across the world.

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