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Digital rights organization gets boost in suit against the Science & Tech ministry

Paradigm Initiative had made an FOI request to the Ministry to ascertain the details surrounding the proposed launch of two satellites.

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja, on Wednesday, June 28, 2017, granted Paradigm Initiative the leave to apply for judicial relief and compel the Ministry of Science and Technology to show why it is refusing to information as requested by the Initiative’s Freedom of Information (FOI) request.

Paradigm Initiative, a pan-African digital rights advocacy organisation had made an FOI request to the Ministry to ascertain the details surrounding the proposed launch of two satellites by the National Space Development and Research Agency (NASRDA), an agency under the Ministry.

With the Ministry refusing to provide the requested information on the proposed launch of the satellites, the Initiative took the matter to the courts.

Following an ex-parte motion by the Initiative’s counsel, Olumide Babalola, Justice Nnamdi Dimgba of the Federal High Court in Abuja, gave the order granting the Initiative the leverage to move ahead with its suit against the Ministry and the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, who are both respondents in the case.

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In the suit filed June 1, 2017, with suit no FHC/ABJ/CS/481/2017, Paradigm Initiative seeks “a declaration that the failure and/or refusal of the respondents to disclose or make available to the Applicant the information requested by the applicant’s letter dated 3rd day of May 2017 amounts to a violation of the Applicant’s right of access to information as guaranteed by Section 1 (1) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011.’’

Paradigm Initiative is also seeking an “order of mandamus” to compel the Ministry to disclose the following information: the specifications of the two new satellites to be launched by the Respondents and details of their intended use, according to a statement from the Initiative.

The case has been adjourned to September 29, 2017, for hearing. Pulse Tech will keep you updated as more details come to light.

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