Asabe Waziri: NNPCL Rejects HURIWA’S FOI Request on Oil Company’s Staff, Gives Reason

  • The NNPCL declined an FOI request from HURIWA regarding the employment status of Ms Asabe Waziri and her alleged property acquisitions
  • The Nigerian oil company cited the Petroleum Industry Act 2021 as grounds for not being subject to the FOI Act
  • However, HURIWA, a human rights group, described the NNPCL’s rejection of the FOI request as “rare and shocking”

TheTalk.NG journalist Nurudeen Lawal has 8 years of experience covering political campaigns and elections

FCT, Abuja – The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has turned down a Freedom Of Information (FOI) request regarding the employment status of the company’s staff, Ms Asabe Waziri.

The Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) made the FOI request following the alleged acquisition of multi-million naira properties in Lagos and Abuja by Ms Waziri.

NNPCL/HURIWA's FOI Request/Asabe WaziriHURIWA, a human rights group, described the NNPCL’s rejection of the FOI request on Ms Asabe Waziri as “rare and shocking”.
Photo credit: NNPC LimitedSource: Facebook

In a statement released on Sunday, April 28, the rights group described the NNPCL’s response “as rare and shocking”.

Asabe Waziri: What HURIWA wanted to know about NNPC’s staff

In the FOI request, HURIWA sought to know Ms Waziri’s current employment status with NNPC Limited.

This includes her position, department, and any relevant employment records, her salaries and benefits date of enlistment with any records indicating her length of service.

The rights group also sought clarification on how Ms Waziri, as a public servant, allegedly acquired two units of residential property (specifically, units 3B and 3C, Abbey Signature Apartments, 1 Mekong Close, Maitama Abuja FCT) valued at N260 million.

HURIWA also wanted to verify the allegation that Ms Waziri purchased a prized housing asset in Lagos and information regarding any additional actions or disciplinary measures taken by the NNPCL.

Asabe Waziri: Why we reject your FOI request, NNPC tells HURIWA

In its reply, the NNPCL, through its counsel, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), said the personal inflation of nuts staff is not disclosable.

NNPCL,

“Accordingly, we regret our client’s inability to accede to your demand for the requested information. Our client, with this, outrightly rejects your request,” the company said through its lawyer.

It added:

“Having reviewed your request, we invite you to please note that our client has ceased to be subject to the Freedom of Information Act 2011 (FOIA) following the coming into force of the Petroleum Industry Act 2021, by which the erstwhile Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (the Corporation), which was a public institution, transited to a limited liability company upon the registration of the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020.

“Thus, our client is not obligated to respond to demands for information under the FOIA. Be that as it may, our client highlights the following in the interest of due process and transparency: i. The information listed as items 1 to 4 are exempted from the application of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011. Section 14 (1)(b) of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 reads: “…a public institution must deny an application for information that contains .ersonal in ormation and in ormation exem ted under this subsection includes – @) -ersonnel ‘les and 22 onal in ormation maintained with res .. ct to employees, appointees or elected officials of any public institution or applicants for such positions,”

“As information regarding the salaries, salary scale, benefits, benefits package, additional compensation from our client, date of enlistment position, department, acquisition of property, and any relevant employment records are employees‘ personal information in personnel files, our client must deny your request.

The NNPCL also explained why it cannot disclose any information regarding taking disciplinary measures against its staff.

According to the oil company, the FOI prohibits releasing such information. Its response reads further:

“Furthermore, information regarding any additional actions or disciplinary measures taken by our client concerning its staff is not disclosable under the Freedom of Information Act 2011. Please see Section 12 (1) (a) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, which prohibits the release of information in relation to records compiled by the institution for administrative enforcement proceedings or internal matters. It provides that: “12. (1) A public institution may deny an application for any information which contains(a) Records compiled by any public institution for administrative enforcement proceedings and by any law enforcement or correctional agency for law enforcement purposes or for internal matters of a public institution…”

“As our client is not a party to the alleged suit(s) and dispute between Ms Waziri, Abbey Signature Limited, or any other person, it will not get involved in any matter(s) arising from or connected to the dispute.”

Bette Edu: HURIWA calls for probe

In another report, HURIWA had also called for the probe of the now-suspended minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, Dr Betta Edu.

The rights group made the call following the alleged diversion of N585.2 million of public funds into private accounts, violating the 2009 public sector financial regulations.

Source: TheTalk.NG


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