A Federal High Court in Lagos has ordered Coscharis Motors Limited to release information regarding the two bullet-proof cars purchased by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority for former embattled Minister of Aviation, Stella Oduah in 2013.
Punch Newspaper, reports that the presiding judge in the case, Justice Mohammed Yunusa made the order of mandamus in a judgment delivered on Tuesday. The suit was filed by a non-governmental organisation, Enough-is-Enough.
Enough-is-Enough had, through its counsel, Mr. Ayodeji Acquah, sought an order compelling Coscharis Motors to make available its documents on the two cars numbered WBAHP41050DW68032 and WBAHP41010DW68044 purchased for Oduah for N256m allegedly.
Prior to the court order, the organisation claimed to have requested for the said information from Coscharis, but its request was denied.
As a corollary, the organisation prayed the court to compel the Attorney General of the Federation to commence criminal proceedings against Coscharis for alleged wrongful denial of access to information in contravention of Section 7(5) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.
However, Coscharis, through its counsel, Mr. Ndubuisi Chito, maintained that being an indigenous private limited liability company with no government investment, the FOI Act could not be binding on it.
Mr. Chito argued that since the company was not funded with tax payer’s money and did not enjoy any type of government subvention, it could not be categorised as a public service outfit, which might be subject to sections 1(1) and 4(a) that the applicant relied upon.
Furthermore, Chito, urged Justice Yunusa to dismiss the suit for want of jurisdiction.
However, Yunusa, in his judgment, assumed jurisdiction and subsequently ordered the automobile company to furnish Enough-is-Enough with information and documents pertaining to the cars, maintaining that the provisions of the FOI Act was binding on Coscharis.
The Judge however, did not compel the Attorney General of the Federal to commence criminal proceedings against the automobile company as prayed by the plaintiff.