Federal High Court Orders National Population Commission to Disclose Census Expenditure Details

A Federal High Court in Abuja has directed the National Population Commission (NPC) to reveal detailed information regarding the expenses related to the suspended 2023 Population Census. The census, initially scheduled for 2022 but later postponed to 2023, was indefinitely suspended by former President Muhammadu Buhari, awaiting new dates to be announced by President Bola Tinubu. The census is now rescheduled for November 2024.

The court order comes in response to a lawsuit filed by Abuja-based lawyer Opatola Victor, who had utilized the Freedom of Information Act to request expenditure details after the NPC disclosed spending N200 billion on the preparation for the postponed census. The NPC’s refusal to provide the requested records prompted Victor to seek an order of mandamus compelling the commission to release the information.

Justice Inyang Ekwo, in his judgment, dismissed the NPC’s claims of bureaucratic obstacles and the absence of the executive chairman as reasons for withholding information. The judge also rejected the NPC’s argument that certain information was classified, emphasizing that there was no secrecy involved in the matter. Justice Ekwo deemed the NPC’s refusal to disclose spending records as wrongful, illegal, and unconstitutional.

As a result, the court granted an order compelling the NPC to furnish Victor with comprehensive and detailed information concerning the Quality Test Assurance Report on the devices and technology intended for the postponed 2023 population census within seven days. However, the court declined to award the requested N500,000 in favor of the plaintiff as specified in the lawsuit.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *