A non-governmental organisation, the Incorporated Trustees of Citizens Right and Control Initiative has asked a Federal High Court in Abuja to compel the House of Representatives to reopen its investigation into external loans and commercial agreements by the Nigerian government.
In an application for judicial review for an order of mandamus, the group is seeking a declaration that the failure or refusal of the Speaker of the House of Representatives to lift the indefinite suspension on the investigation and examination of external loans and commercial agreements between Nigeria and other countries, especially China is a breach of the constitution.
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The NGO is contending that the suspension of the House of Representatives Committee on Treaties, Protocols, and Agreements is a breach of Section 88(1), (a), and (b) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).
It is therefore asking the court to order the speaker to lift the suspension of the activities of the committee to enable it to conclude its activities on external loans and commercial agreements between Nigeria and other countries, especially China. Counsel to the NGO, Godwin Ogboji Esq informed the court that the suspension of the probe of the loans by the committee through an announcement by the Majority Leader of the House, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, was a breach of its fundamental right to hold an opinion as guaranteed under Section 39 (1) of the Nigerian Constitution.
In the affidavit attached to the suit and deposed to by Samuel Akpenpuun, the group informed the court that the action was brought due to the cries concerning the agreement for the Nigeria National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone, Phase II Project between Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Finance, and the Export-Import Bank of China as lender dated September 5, 2018.
It said Article 8(1) of the agreement reads that “The borrower hereby irrevocably waives any immunity on the grounds of sovereign or otherwise for itself or its properties in connection with any arbitration proceedings pursuant thereto, except for the military assets and diplomatic assets.”
No date has been fixed for the hearing.