Edo Water Storm Court Judgement: Chief Eholor Wins, Permitted To Assess Government Relevant Project's Documents

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Every rainy season annually across the Nigerian States, Property owners as well as inhabitants allay fears of possible Flooding that may ravage their Abode.

Thousands of people have lost their homes due to poor erosion management by the authority, thereby, living citizens to loose their hard earn fortunes to flood.

Several homes have been reportedly ravaged by flood in communities in every state cut across the Federation.

From multiple Records, many of the residents had been left stranded as their properties were submerged by the flood.

Most often, Flooding is commonly caused by a heavy downpour of rains on flat ground, reservoir failure, volcano, melting of snow and or glaciers.

Flood risk is not just based on history, but on a number of factors: rainfall, river-flow and tidal-surge data, topography, flood-control measures, and changes due to the construction of buildings

Whatever the cause, the effect is devastating and affecting lives, environment on a large scale.

And for decades, successive Government have failed to arrest the situation with Compost hopes ending in droughts.

The uncertainty, created by this untrustworthy service engagement by the same trend of administrators for so many years, is still a mystery to explain.

Miffed by the continuous ravaging of Flood, A Civil Rights Crusader, Chief Patrick Eholor, the Founder of One Love Foundation, who believes that asses should be granted to citizens to ascertain work Reportedly done by Government took his own destiny and others in his hand.

On July 2, 2019, he confronted the authority by instituting originating Summons at the High Court of Justice, in the Benin Judicial Division, seeking asses to Compulsory disclosure of Government activities after he claimed to have approached abinitio without approval from Government.

In his suit no.B/84/OS/2019, the Defendants include Edo State Government, The Governor Of Edo State and the Attorney General and Commissioner For Justice Edo State.

The Claimant, Chief Patrick Eholor sort a determination, "whether the information applied for by him ought to be granted under the freedom of information act, 2011"

His declaration was particularly directed at the "First and Second" respondents to furnish, the cost of the Benin City Water Storm project, the Areas Covered by the Project, the date Contract was Awarded and to whom, Detailed Financial Records, The extent of work done, the Source of Funding the Project, Variation in Project and when it is expected to be concluded.

It was also supported with a twelve paragraph affidavit deposed to by the Claimant.

However, in its Judgement, the High Court ordered Edo State Government to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and render an account of stewardship over the cost of the Benin Water Storm Project to the Claimant.

The Judgement follows a suit filed by the claimant, Senior Member, Amnesty International and Founder of One Foundation, Chief Patrick Eholor seeking the Court to address his rights of freedom to assess the Cost of projects and other related indices embarked upon by the State Government.

Presiding Judge, Justice D I Okungbowa delivering Judgement on the case, explained that having chosen to adopt the unanimous judgement of an Akure Division of the Court of Appeal in the Case between Alo versus Speaker, Ondo State House of Assembly, which expressly stated that the Information Act applies to Edo State and the Claimant is entitled to information applied under the Act 2011.

While awarding a cost of fifty thousand naira to the claimants, Justice Okungbowa declared that Chief Osagie Eholor is entitled to the reliefs sought which are only declarative.

He explained that the Court is not a charitable institution and cannot make any order or grant a relief not sought.

The defendants through their Counsel, R.O Oaihimire claimed that the freedom of information act 2011 is a federal Legislation and not for the state

She noted that granting the application to the Claimant would be prejudicial to and will visit grave irremediable injustice on the respondents

She prays the Court for the interest of Justice to refuse and dismiss the case.

Speaking Shortly after getting Judgement, the counsel to the claimant, Austine Akahomen said the judgement will not only encourage others to participate in Governance but will also Compel Governments at all levels to do what is appropriate.

On his part, the Plaintiff, Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor told London Post that the Judgement has galvanized him to do more.

"It's a precedent I have set and others would follow because Government must be accountable to the people", he stated

Counsel to the Claimant, Austine Akahomen, commenting on their victory at the High Court said the Judiciary despite all odds against it in Nigeria has once again proven that it is indeed the last hope of the Common Man.

Despite the Victory in court, it is evidently correct that work has since commenced and are in an advanced stage at the site of the Benin City Water Storm Project

The World Bank Water Storm project was part of the uncompleted work inherited by the present administration of Governor Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki from his predecessor and disposed of National Chairman of the Ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.

The project intended to solve Flooding menaces in the state gulped Billions of Naira which has now assumed very worrisome erosion hostages as many have abandoned their homes.

Several questions have been raised without an answer from the originator of the project despite craving to end erosions ravaging the state.

Chief Patrick Osagie Eholor, who had a few years ago mobilized a one million match that compelled the Federal Government to address the gross failure of its South-South Nigeria said for the active inter Nations Nascent Democracy to work, the Constituents must be allowed to participate through adequate information and active interrogation of the system.

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