Information withholding: Court orders CBN to pay N1m

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been ordered to pay Media Rights Agenda (MRA) one million naira in damages for wrongfully denying them access to information by a Federal High Court in Abuja.

The court also ordered the apex bank to provide to the organization all the material it requested in its May 22, 2020 letter regarding the bank’s data protection policies and practices, according to a press release provided to xanderetch by MRA.

According to xanderetch, MRA had sued CBN on June 15, 2020, through its attorney Darlington Onyekwere, to protest the company’s unwillingness to provide the information it had requested.

In its letter to the bank dated May 22, 2020, MRA had asked the court to order the bank and its governor to provide the information it had requested, including copies of all CBN data protection policies issued in accordance with the Nigeria Data Protection Regulation (NDPR), 2019.

The organization also requested the names and contact information of the CBN’s Data Protection Officer, who was appointed in compliance with the NDPR and other pertinent data privacy laws and instructions.

The sitting judge had expressed displeasure at the bank’s refusal to provide written notice to the organization so that it could access the aforementioned listed papers, according to the MRA statement made available by its communications officer, Idowu Adewale.

The judge subsequently issued an injunction requiring CBN to provide MRA with all the information it has requested.

The organization’s request for N1 million in damages was approved by the judge, who also determined that MRA was entitled to compensation for the illegal infringement of its right to access information.

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The judge, however, rejected MRA’s plea for an order instructing the Attorney General of the Federation to begin criminal proceedings against the CBN for improperly denying access to material under Section 7(5) of the FOI Act.

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