Justice Muslim Hassan of the federal high court has granted the request of Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), to compel the Code of Conduct Bureau to publish asset declarations submitted to it by successive presidents and state governors since the return of democracy in 1999.
Speaking on the new verdict, Justice Hassan said that he is satisfied that the leave ought to be granted in this case, and I hereby grant the motion for leave.
“Going through the application filed by SERAP, supported by a 14-paragraph affidavit with supporting exhibits, statements setting out the facts, verifying affidavits and written address in support, I am satisfied that leave ought to be granted in this case, and I hereby grant the motion for leave.”
Naija News understands that SERAP applied for judicial review and to seek an order of mandamus directing and compelling the CCB to disclose details of asset declarations of all presidents and state governors since 1999.
The rights group argued that democracy cannot flourish “if governments operate in secrecy, no matter how much open discussion and debate is allowed.
“The very nature and quality of public discussion would be significantly impoverished without the nourishment of information from public authorities such as the CCB, and to guarantee freedom of expression without including the right to know would be a formal exercise.”
It further averred that the CCB has “an obligation to proactively keep, organize and maintain all information or records about their operations, personnel, activities and other relevant or related information or records in a manner that facilitates public access to such information or record.
“Given that many public officers being tried for or convicted of corruption are found to have made a false declaration of their assets, the CCB should no longer allow politicians to undermine the sanctity and integrity of the asset declaration provisions of the Constitution by allowing them to continue to exploit legal gaps for illicit enrichment.