Aborted census: Court gives NPC 7 days to release spending details 

The National Population Commission (NPC) has been ordered by Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High Court in Abuja to release details of spending on the aborted 2023 Population Census to Opatola Victor, a legal practitioner within seven days.

Justice Ekwo issued the order in favour of the lawyer Thursday while delivering judgment in a suit instituted against the commission in Abuja.

In his verdict, the judge declared that the refusal by the NPC to release the information or records of spending on the aborted census as requested by the lawyer on March 30, 2023 was wrongful, illegal and unconstitutional.

Justice Ekwo who invoked Section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act, (FOI) in the judgment held that the refusal of the commission to provide the plaintiff with information on the companies that provided due diligence report on the technology to be deployed for the ill-fated census was a gross violation of the right of the plaintiff as enshrined in Section 4 of the FOI Act.

During proceedings, the judge refused to grant N500,000 as requested in the suit by the plaintiff.

Further to that, the judge granted an order of mandamus compelling the NPC, its servants, agents, privies and officials to furnish the lawyer with comprehensive and detailed information concerning the Quality Test Assurance Report on the devices and technology to be deployed for the postponed 2023 population census.

Justice Ekwo rejected the claim by the defendant that bureaucracy and the absence of its executive chairman at the time was responsible for the refusal to make the requested records available to the plaintiff, adding that the claim was untenable.