The Abuja Federal High Court on Monday ordered the National Assembly to release details of the salary, emoluments and allowances received by lawmakers between 2007 and 2011 within the next 14 days. This ruling was delivered on Monday, 25th June, 2012, by Justice B.B Aliyu in a suit filed by Legal Defense and Assistance Project (LEDAP ).
In a written request made on July 6, 2011, LEDAP had asked the National Assembly to provide it with the details of payments made to lawmakers. The NGO made this request, citing the Freedom of Information Act which was signed into law in May that year. However, as expected, the lawmakers had refused to respond.
LEDAP filed in its suit in September, 2011. And, in his ruling, Justice Aliyu pointed out that information about payments to lawmakers is of public interest, since these payments were made from public funds.
This is a welcome development and Nigerians will always be thankful Abike Dabiri as the brain behind the FOI (Freedom of Information) Bill. What is it with our public office holders and their shady ways with public funds? Just a few days ago, the president himself casually waved aside the issues about his assets which he is yet to declare. If they do not have skeletons in their cupboards, they should not be reluctant to make these information available to Nigerians, especially as Nigerians want to know.