Appeal Court rules states lack power to reject FOI requests

Court sacks two House of representatives members

An Appeal Court sitting in Akure, the Ondo State capital, has ruled that state governments have no powers to reject requests filed under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

Such requests, according to the appellate court, include those made in public interests for information, especially on public expenditure.

The court gives the ruling in an appeal filed by a journalist, Martins Alo, against the Speaker of Ondo State House of Assembly and the state Auditor General, for denying him the audited reports of the state government from 2012 and 2014.

The journalist said he seeks the report to enable him properly assess the spending of the public funds.

An Akure High Court had rejected his application on the ground that the FOI act is applicable to only the federal government and not the state government, and that the request is not in public interest.

The Appeal Court, however, overruled the judgement of the High Court, and insists that the state government must honour requests on the FOI Act, and that the request of the journalist is in public interest.

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