By Balkis Tijani.
A State High Court sitting in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital has fixed August 10 for the hearing of application on the suit brought by the incorpoted trustees of a civil society organisation, Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative (BBYDI) against the Kwara state government over alleged non-compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2011.
It would be recalled that following the refusal of the Kwara state ministry of finance and planning to grant the request of BBYDI for the breakdown of budget expenditure by the government, especially in the health sector during the last quarter of 2019, the organisation had threatened a court action.
“Please take notice that should the Ministry refuse to grant our request despite this appeal, within the above-stipulated ultimatum, we shall not hesitate to approach the Federal High Court to seek appropriate reliefs against the Ministry, having regards to Sections 2 (6), 20 and 25 of the Act,” BBYDI had said in a letter to the state ministry of finance.
Part of the information sought by Brain Builders Youth Development Initiative in its February 18, 2020 letter to the government include, details of the breakdown of N8.889bn health sector spending in the third quarter of 2019, breakdown of how the Governor’s office spent N2.451bn and a breakdown of the N1.195bn ministry of works spending; among others.
Explaining why BBYDI had to resort to court action, the Kwara state Coordinator of the organisation, Olasupo Abideen told Journalists that the ultimate objective they seek to achieve is to ensure there is value for money and transparency in public sector spending, especially by the government.
“There won’t be any transparency and accountability if budget line items and clarifications are shrouded in secrecy and that is the reason why we have been making this demand,” Olasupo said.
The organisation, through its lawyer, Barr. Adedayo Zulqarnain first Instituted the case against the state government sometime in May. The petition, with case number KWS/74m/20 between Incorporated Trustees of Brain Builders Vs Attorney General of Kwara State & 1or was slated for hearing on July 14, 2020, but the subsisting lockdown ocassioned by the Covid-19 pandemic prevented the court from sitting.
However, the presiding judge, Justice Sikiru Oyinloye has now fixed a new date, Monday August 10 for hearing of application on the matter.