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Litigation: Agric Ministry Bows To ENetSuD After 3-years In Court

The Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (FMARD) has bowed to Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD)'s legal pressure after about 3 years in Court.

It will be recalled that ENetSuD sued FMARD on April 10, 2019 for its failure to respond to the Freedom of Information (FOI) request on how public funds it received for the execution of 2017 constituency projects in Kwara State were spent.

ENetSuD's experte motion was subsequently granted by the Court on May 27, 2019 when the hearing of the anti-corruption body's application came up.

FMARD had earlier maintained in its preliminary hearing objection filed in ENetSuD's suit no FHC/IL/CS/28/2019 that the Ministry cannot sue and be sued, thus requesting the Court to dismiss ENetSuD's suit. 

The ministry also said that the Court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit by ENetSuD against it.

In the counter-affidavit from ENetSuD's counsel (Lukman Raji, Esq), ENetSuD insisted that FMARD is one of the Federal Government's institutions that can sue and be sued in the eye of the law, thus praying to the court to dismiss the preliminary objection of the Ministry.

As a sign that the FMARD doesn't want the litigation to continue, the information previously denied by the Ministry in 2019 has now been provided to ENetSuD without waiting for the Court's judgement on the suit. 

The Ministry provided the information through its Counsel, Odoeme N.V, Esq.

ENetSuD lists the projects that led to the litigation as Sheikh Agbarigidoma - Oloje road, Ilorin; Ero-Omo - Kilanko road, Ilorin; Solar boreholes in Ilorin; 348 Solar streetlights across Kwara central; 2 km road in Asa / Ilorin west Federal Constituency; 125 street lights at Omu-aran; and 300 KVA transformer at Olorunkuise area in Offa. 

The provision of the requested information to ENetSuD after 3 years of the legal battle is a victory for ENetSuD and Kwarans who rely on ENetSuD to have access to information on how public funds are spent.

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