By SaharaReporters, New York
Exactly how much did the Federal Ministry of Finance spend on last month’s lavish funeral of Rev. Dr. Warigbo Esonu Iweala, the father-in-law of Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for Economy?
How many members of staff of the Ministry were sponsored by the Ministry to attend the ceremony in Umuda Isingwu in Umuahia North, Abia State, including detailed information on the purchase of air tickets for the entourage of the Minister, other staff of the Ministry and its parastatals, as well as hotel accommodation for staff of the Ministry who attended the burial?
How much did the Ministry and its parastatals contribute to the preparation and the actual burial of the father-in-law of Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala?
These are some of the Freedom of Information questions filed by Citizen Yinka Odumakin under Section 1 (2) of the Freedom of Information Act of 2011that Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala is facing tonight, and needs to answer in the next seven days.
The FOI Act is one of the proudest achievements of the Goodluck Jonathan government.
Popularly known as NOI, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala faces the FOI dilemma for seven days. If she fails to produces a properly-authenticated answer of the request, she faces the option of legal action next week.
“Take Notice that you have within Seven days from the receipt of this application to furnish me with this information and or record; failing which I shall institute an action in the Federal High Court for a writ of Mandamus to compel you to so do,” Mr. Odumakin’s application states.
Following on the footsteps of last week’s loss of the opportunity to become the next President of the World Bank, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s government has stepped into tumultuous times, ranging from:
• the publication of the devastating probe report of the government’s oil subsidy regime by the House of Representatives;
• to emerging evidence that several key members of the government lied about the oil subsidies;
• to internal and external turmoil in the People’s Democratic Party, exemplified by attacks by Ibrahim Babangida on the inside and Muhammadu Buhari on the outside;
• to yesterday’s arrest in Abuja of political activist Ayodeji Ajayeoba, Convener of the United Action for Democracy (UAD) simply for saying the UAD will organize protests of the government’s anti-poor policies and oil subsidy manipulation;
• to the Jonathan government’s helplessness in the face of scam after obvious scam;
• to last week’s embarrassing open begging of European governments by President Jonathan to fight Boko Haram on his behalf weeks after he had announced a July date by which he will vanquish the Islamic militants.
As pressure mounted at the weekend over the apparent complicity or incompetence of government bodies in the oil subsidy mess, Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s Ministry of Finance abruptly fired two auditing companies, Akintola Williams and Co and Adekanola and Co., which were responsible for validating marketers’ claims.
“It is the most current version of bolting the barn doors after the horses have escaped,” a political analyst told SaharaReporters.
Mrs. Okonjo-Iweala’s engagement with the much-celebrated Freedom of Information Act will be the law’s most high-profile case yet.