Lagos Lawyer and human rights activist, Mr Femi Falana (SAN), has issued a seven-day ultimatum to the federal government to make available to him and his chambers information as to whether it has acquired the military hardware with the $1billion loan approved by the National Assembly.
Citing the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act in a letter he wrote to the Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Falana warned that refusal of the federal government to grant request for the said information, would make him pray a Federal High Court for an order of mandamus compelling it to do so.
President Goodluck Jonathan had sought the approval of the National Assembly for $1billion foreign loan to purchase military hardware on the grounds that the army lacked the weapons to combat the Boko Haram sect.
The federal lawmakers unanimously approved the president’s request to take the loan in line with the provision of section 217 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), which stipulates that the armed forces shall be adequately equipped by the Federal Government.
In his FoI request, Falana said the information had become necessary, considering the fact that a total of 70 soldiers had already been convicted and sentenced to death by the General Court-Martial sitting in Abuja for the offence of mutiny.
“From the information at our disposal, the military authorities have concluded arrangements to put hundreds of other soldiers on trial for making a similar demand”, Falana said.
“Having confirmed that the members of the armed forces are still hampered in fighting the insurgents due to lack of equipment, we hereby request you to confirm whether the Federal Government has acquired the military hardware from the loan of $1billion approved by the National Assembly.