Rights group drags Enugu Govt to court over failure to equip diagnostic centre

By AdvocateNews on 21/05/2020

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Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi

A human rights organization, Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), has filed a suit against Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi led administration of Enugu state over an abandoned health facility.

CRRAN instituted the legal action at the Federal High Court against Enugu State Government over its alleged refusal to equip Diagnostics Center to cater for health needs of citizens of the state.

The multi-million naira edifice, which was located at old Trade Fair Complex, Enugu, was built by the immediate past governor of the state, Sullivan Chime, but could not equip it before his eight years tenure elapsed in May 2015.

The Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi administration had in the wake of COVID-19 redesignated the structure as an isolation and treatment centre for victims of the dreaded coronavirus pandemic in the state.

CRRAN said, if equipped, the centre would have helped a lot in respect of the health and medical needs of the people of the state and the entire Southeast Nigeria.

The suit which is between Registered Trustees of CRRAN and Enugu State Government, with   No: FHC/EN/ CS/47/2020, was filed on Wednesday at the Federal High Court Enugu.

President of the organization, Olu Omotayo, said the suit brought under the Freedom of Information Act, prayed the Court to make "an order of Mandamus directed at the Enugu State Government to supply to the applicant records and documents in respect of the contract for the purchase of medical equipments for the commencement of operations of Diagnostics Center, Old Trade Fair Complex, Enugu."

It also asked the court to declare that "the failure of the Respondent to supply to the applicant records and documents in respect of the contract for the purchase of medical equipments for the commencement of operations of Diagnostics Center, Old Trade Fair Complex, Enugu is wrongful and contrary to the provisions of Clause 2, 4, & 8(5) of the Freedom of Information Act 2011."

The organisation in the facts in support of the suit stated that the Contract for purchase of medical equipment for the commencement of operations of Diagnostics Center, Old Trade Fair Complex, Enugu has been awarded and public funds made available for that purpose but "the funds diverted for personal use hence the reason for non completion and the subsequent abandon of the project till date."

The plaintiff gave further grounds upon which the reliefs were sought as follows:

"That the respondent has bluntly and persistently refused to supply the records and documents in respect of the project to the applicant after the said letter of demand was served on the office of the secretary to the Enugu State Government.

"That the Project if completed would have solved various health needs of  the citizens of Enugu State in particular and Southeast Nigeria as a whole.

"It is on record that it was through court action in the Suit: Civil Liberties Organisation V. Commissioner for Health Enugu State, Suit No. FHC//EN/M/263/2011, that forced the respondent to even complete the construction of the Diagnostics Center, which was abandoned at the foundation level.   

"That the respondent is not ready to equip the Diagnostics Center with necessary medical equipments so that the center can commence operations to start serving the citizens.  This public interest litigation is brought to make the government accountable to the citizens and also know that it is the duty of the government to provide necessary medical facilities needed for the wellbeing of the citizenry."

No date has been fixed for hearing of the suit.

Posted 21/05/2020 10:40:15 AM


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