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Published On: Tue, Oct 14th, 2014

Compel CBN to name Boko Haram sponsors, SERAP tells court

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Emefiele GodwinBy Tobias Lengnan Dapam

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), yesterday asked a Federal High Court in Lagos to compel the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to name the persons behind alleged money laundering for the purpose of funding Boko Haram.

The group, in a suit marked FHC/L/CS/1547/2014, argued that it would only be fair for the CBN to expose the sponsors in the light of unlawful killings of innocent Nigerians and the continued destruction of properties by the insurgents.

SERAP explained that the suit was necessitated by the alleged refusal of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to oblige its request for the list in line with the Freedom of Information Bill.

It further argued that the continued denial by the CBN is in opposition to social justice, since “the subject matter bothers on an issue of national interest, public peace and security, public concern, social justice, good governance, transparency and accountability.”

It insisted that the CBN has nothing to lose if the information was made available to it.

According to the group, being a public office, the CBN is legally bound to oblige its request for information on the persons who allegedly laundered money through the bank for the purpose of sponsoring Boko Haram.

In its originating summons, SERAP argued: “By virtue of Section 4 (a) of the FOI Act, when a person makes a request for information from a public official, institution or agency, the public official, institution or agency to whom the application is directed is under a bound legal obligation to provide the plaintiff with the information requested for, except as otherwise provided by the Act, within 7 days after the application is received.

“By virtue of Section 1(1) of the FOI Act 2011, the plaintiff is entitled, as of right, to request for or gain access to information which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution.”

No date has yet been fixed for the hearing of the suit.

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