COVID-19 Vaccine: Court Orders Review Of Procurement And Financial Records

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Federal High Court sitting in Benin City has granted leave to FOI Counsel in the case of FOI Counsel and National Primary Health Care Development Agency -Suit No: FHC/B/CS/44/2021, to apply for order of mandamus compelling and National Primary Health Care Development Agency (NPHDA) to furnish it with copies of documents and information relating to the deed of partnership with African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team(AVATT), vaccine pre order budget and facilitating bank, advance procurement guarantees, quantity of Covid 19 vaccines ordered, the breakdown of international financial support for the vaccines supply to Nigeria and the minute of meetings of the NPHDA Board approving payment for the vaccines.

Justice Saleh Musa Shuaibu, judge of the Federal High Court sitting in Benin City granted the ex parte application of the applicant seeking for leave for judicial review of the financing and procurement of Covid19 vaccine under the supervision of the National Primary Health Care Development Agency

FOI Counsel Senior Legal Officer Ayodele Otuakhena, Esq informed the court that on 8th February 2021, the applicant sent an FOI request to the agency and the request was received on 11th day of February 2021. According to Otuakhena, Esq “the request was unattended by the agency and the FOIA considers such non responsive request as outright denial of the aforesaid information and documents requested, hence the application for leave for judicial review.” In its ruling, Justice S. M Shuaibu granted the application for judicial review and the matter was adjourned to 3rd day of November 2021for hearing of the originating summons.

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FOI Counsel is a leading legal group supporting individuals and group including media to enforce their right to information and public records. The group has been in fore front of public interest litigation and advocacy against forced covid19 vaccination and medicare. It has also championed accountability and transparency of covid19 financing and procurement. In Amaka Okoro v NCDC & 3 Ors Suit No: FHC/B/CS/72/2020 it assisted the applicant to challenge forced covid19 medication as same amounts to breach of right of expression and thought. In the case of Aigbokhan President & 950 Ors v. Edo State Government & Anor Suit No: B/190m/2021 it challenged forced covid19 vaccination after collecting signature of over 900 persons interested in the suit.

On the part of President Aigbokhan, Esq, the Executive Director of FOI Counsel he said “in reaching SDG 16 target 10 by indicator 2 on public access to public records, we need to continue to engage the system by FOI request so that we can assist to construct a stronger institution for sustainable development and open records in the context adaptive to covid19 pandemic. This must be sustained by proactive disclosure policy as s starting point for e-governance process.”

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