The Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Maikanti Baru, has said that the oil firm cannot provide the information being sought by a human rights lawyer, Femi Falana (SAN), on fuel importation and sundry matters.
Baru, through an external solicitor, Mr. O. B. Omale of Omale O. B. & Co., in a letter dated May 25, 2018 and received by Falana’s law firm in Abuja on May 28, 2018, said the NNPC could not grant the human rights lawyer’s request.
Falana made the letter available to some select journalists on Monday.
As part of the grounds for the denial of the request, Omale said the NNPC was not a public institution covered by the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 under which Falana requested the information.
The letter reads in part, “We are solicitors to the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (hereinafter referred to as our client), who has passed on to us your letter addressed to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, dated April 17, 2018 in respect of the above subject matter with express instruction to respond appropriately to it.
“Please be informed that our client does not fall within the purview of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. The provision of the Act, particularly Section 31 thereof, is clear and unambiguous as to the meaning of the public institution.
“Our client is neither a legislative, executive, judicial, administrative nor advisory body of the government of Nigeria.
“It is a body established by law to manage the commercial interests of Nigeria in the oil and gas sector of the economy and conduct trade therein.
“It cannot therefore by any stretch of imagination be brought within the definition of public institution under the Act.
“This position has received judicial endorsement via the Federal High Court’s decision in several cases, including two cases instituted by Messrs Public & Private Developments Centre Limited in suit Nos. FHC/ABJ/CS/278/2013 and FHC/ABJ/CS/279/2013.”