Court endorses Falana’s bid to probe Suntai’s health

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Lagos lawyer, Femi Falana, SAN, on Monday obtained the leave of an Abuja court to apply for an Order of Mandamus to compel the Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke, to make available information on the health condition of Taraba State Governor Danbaba Suntai, who was involved in a plane crash in Yola on the 25th day of October 2012, and arrived Nigeria on the 25th day of August, 2013 after a 10-month treatment in Germany and United States of America respectively.

Banking on Order 34 Rules 1 and 3 of the Federal High Court Rules, 2009, and Section 20 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, Falana through his counsel Deji Morakinyo maintained that section 1 of the FOI Act grants every Nigerian access to information in the custody of any public official, or institution.

In his ruling, the presiding judge, Justice Elvis Chukwu, granted the leave sought by Falana, and said the matter would be held on September 16, 2013.

Although, justice Chukwu said he would remit the suit to the Chief Judge of the Abuja FHC for re-assignment, since he is sitting as a vacation judge.

Quoting section 1 of the FOI Act, Falana in the motion also contended that the refusal of the AGF to divulge every necessary detail as regards the governor’s request after he had earlier written him on the 27th August 2013 should be declare an act of illegality.

The letter reads “Following the involvement of Governor Danbaba Suntai of Taraba State in a plane crash in Yola on the 25th day of October 2012, his Excellency arrived Nigeria on the 25th day of August, 2013 having undergone 10 months of treatment in Germany and United States of America.

“Barely a day after his return, a letter was delivered to the Taraba State House of Assembly purportedly written by the Governor, declaring his fitness and intention to resume office immediately.

“In the letter written by the Governor to the State House of Assembly, he claimed to have fully recovered from the injuries he sustained in the plane crash of 25th October, 2012 without affording the public a copy of his medical report of mental and physical fitness.

“Having confirmed that there is a medical report we hereby request for information on the mental and physical fitness of the Governor as claimed in his letter to the Taraba State House of Assembly.”

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