Minister Begs Court for More Time to Account for Spending on Water Projects
The Minister of Water Resources, Suleiman Adamu, has told the Federal High Court in Lagos to “grant the ministry more time within which to compile and furnish Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) with information on the spending on water, and locations of specific projects, in view of the high volume of the information involved.”
Mr Adamu said, “It is not true that millions of Nigerians are drinking water from contaminated sources. It is not the duties of the Ministry of Water Resources alone to provide drinking water for the citizens.”
The Ministry of Water Resources stated this in court in its reply to the Freedom of Information suit number FHC/L/CS/632/18 filed in April by SERAP requesting Mr Adamu and the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbeh to “explain why millions of Nigerians have to resort to drinking water from contaminated sources with deadly health consequences, despite the authorities claiming to have spent trillions of naira of budgetary allocations on the sector since 1999.”
However, while Mr Adamu has promised to render account on spending on water projects and is now asking the court for more time to do so, Mr Ogbeh has so far failed, refused and/or neglected to respond to SERAP’s request and has not filed any paper in court to counter the suit filed by the organization.
But Mr Adamu through a counter-affidavit dated September 7 and sworn to by Kwushue Abolaji, Legal Officer at the Ministry of Water Resources, said, “The delay in furnishing SERAP with the requested information is not deliberate. The information will soon be ready and it will be forwarded to SERAP without further delay. We humbly urge the court to grant us more time within which to do this.”
The Written Address signed by M.C. Mbam, counsel to Mr Adamu, read in part: “The Ministry of Water Resources did not refuse or decline to furnish SERAP with the requested information but was only unable to furnish it within the stipulated timeframe. We have already agreed in a letter dated 12 March 2018 to provide the information.”