Chief Diprieye Alamieyesiegha
By Tobi Soniyi
A group, the Say No Campaign, is set to begin a legal battle to compel the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) to release copies of the minutes of the National Council of State’s meeting held on March 12, 2013 where pardon was granted to the former governor of Bayelsa State, Chief Diprieye Alamieyesiegha, and six others.
A month after the Office of the SGF was served with the request, the spokesman for the group, Mr. Jude Ilo said the SGF had failed to release the information.
According to him, the organisation has no choice but to head for the court.
The group had on March 21 sent a request to the SGF sequel to the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, demanding the minutes of the meeting of the National Council of State where the decision to pardon Alamieyesiegha and six others was taken.
Ilo said the court’s processes had been prepared and would be filed very soon.
The request to the Office of the SGF was made under Sections 1(1), 1(2) and 3 of the FoI Act, 2011.
The group said the request was premised on the need for Nigerians to know how “this ridiculous decision was reached especially against the backdrop of denials by some members of the National Council of State that the pardons were not discussed.”
The Say No Campaign said if it was true that the issue was not discussed at the National Council of State’s meeting, “it raises serious question on the legal validity of this decision and effectively annuls these pardons.”
The group had expressed the hope that the SGF would expeditiously attend to the request in the interest of rule of law and transparency.
It had earlier condemned the pardon The Say No Campaign said it was committed to ensuring that not only the reversal of the pardon granted to persons convicted for corruption but also to promote good governance and rule of law in the country.