By Femi Ogunshola
Dr Kayode Ajulo, a legal practitioner, has threatened law suit against the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), over non disclosure of names of those who misappropriated its N40 billion revenue and budget.
Ajulo said this in a letter written to the Acting Managing Director of NDCC, Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, on Wednesday in Abuja, a copy of which was made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).
It would be recalled that N40 billion was alleged to have been misappropriated within three months at NDDC during the probe of the commission at the National Assembly.
Ajulo, however, said pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act (FOI), 2011, the names of beneficiaries should be made available to his firm.
He added that the NDDC must not fail to comply with the demand within seven days from the date of the receipt of the letter.
The legal practitioner said that any attempt to disregard the letter would result to law suit, adding that he would be compelled to proceed to apply to the Federal High Court.
He said that he would seek an order to compel the NDDC to perform its statutory duties as outlined in the FOI Act.
Ajulo said that he would also seek substantial damages against the NDDC for refusal to fulfil its statutory obligation.
He stated that failure to comply would amount to willful violation of his right to information under the FOI Act.
He said that the recent probe of NDDC by the National Assembly on the alleged misappropriation of ₦40 billion was worrisome which was trailed by series of allegations.
According to him, at the Ad Hoc committee on NDDC, the Acting Deputy Director, Projects, Mr Cairo Ojougboh, was reported to have stated that the budgets of the commission had always been hijacked by NASS for personal gains.
He stated that his organisation needed the information as a law firm committed to the enthronement of the rule of law, good governance, accountability, transparency, anti-corruption and due process in Nigeria.
“We are compelled to draw your attention to the imperative of ensuring due diligence and observance of proper procedure in ensuring adequate use and accountability for expending tax payers money.”
The legal practitioner said it was imperative to note that one of the central pillars of Nigerian corporate existence was to safeguard the welfare of the citizens.
Ajulo said that democracy would not flourish if governments operated in secrecy.
He said that the nature and quality of public discussion would be impoverished without the nourishment of information from public authorities.
According to him, on the backdrop of the foregoing, we hereby request for information relating to the receipt or expenditure of the NDDC.