By Nathan Nwakamma
Yenagoa , Nov. 20, 2020 Mr Ayibanua Duba, Bayelsa Commissioner for Information, on Thursday decried the series of litigations against the state government saying it will not help the quest to build a prosperous and united state.
Duba, who spoke after the state executive council meeting in Yenagoa, lamented that the numerous court cases against the Gov. Douye Diri led administration were intended to distract, inconvenience it, and prevent or slow down the wheel of development in the state.
“We recognise the constitutional rights of the coalition of 45 NGOs to sue the Bayelsa State government.
“They are seeking an order of mandamus compelling Gov. Diri, the Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Commissioners for Works and Infrastructure, Health and Education counterparts to make public the debt profile, account balance.
“They also want to know what the present administration of Bayelsa State inherited from the previous administration on Feb. 14, 2020, on the state’s accounts from 2015 to 2019 in line with provisions of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011.
“Whereas the appropriate response will be made by the lawyers for the state in court in due season, we wish to note for the sake of the court of public opinion that these sorts of court actions are nothing more than fishing expeditions.
“These litigations are distractions and a drain on the lean resources, will not be helpful in our quest to build a prosperous and united Bayelsa State.
“This is yet another episode of a well-established, but unfortunate pattern of over 12 litigations which have amounted to nothing more than judicial harassments and disturbances that this regime has been subjected to, since its inception.
“It is our conviction that a most perfunctory and peripheral examination of public records available on the internet and elsewhere, would have more than satisfied the candid information seeker,”he said.
Duba, however, referred the litigants to the state’s monthly Transparency briefings since 2012.
“This is because in accordance with extant laws, there have been monthly Transparency briefings, since 2012 with several journalists and NGOs in attendance, that have provided the very documents that these NGOs are presumably requesting for in court.
“It is further instructive to recall that, as a prelude to the subsequently botched transition, a joint committee of the government of the day and representatives of the APC was formed and full disclosure, contained in hand over notes was prepared.
“Why any groups in association or separately, will find it prudent to spend their resources suing for information that has previously been fully disclosed and remains available in the public domain is both profoundly troubling and indicative of deeply nursed malice.
“It is malice against the PDP government.
“It is difficult to evade the conclusion that opponents of this regime, having failed to unseat the prosperity government of Gov. Diri through numerous frivolous court cases, have purposed to distract and inconvenience it and prevent or slow down the wheel of development,” Duba said.