JUST IN: US court grants Tinubu’s request opposing release of his FBI, CIA files
President Bola Tinubu appears to be shutting down every possible doors that could eventually smoothen the release of his files by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency and other top US security agencies as the court for the District of Columbia in Washington DC has granted his motion to oppose the release of the secret files according to court filings.
The Peoples Gazette reports that the presiding Judge, Beryl A. Howell, on November 27, granted Mr Tinubu’s motion to intervene after deeming him to have met the four qualifying factors which include timeliness of the motion, applicant’s interest in the property which forms subject of action, “whether the applicant is so situated that the disposition of the action may as a practical matter impair or impede the applicant’s ability to protect that interest; and whether the applicant’s interest is adequately represented by existing parties.”
Adjudging Mr Tinubu to have met the four criteria, Ms Howell permitted the Nigerian leader to step in and protect his records from being released by the U.S. security agencies in response to a freedom of information request filed by Aaron Greenspan, owner of Plainsite, a website that promotes transparency and anti-corruption in public service. Mr Greenspan worked with Nigerian journalist David Hundeyin on the FOIA request.
“Tinubu’s intervention will thus have no disruptive effect, as he has intervened in time to follow any briefing schedule that will later be imposed,” Ms Howell ruled on Monday. “Second and third, Tinubu has a cognizable interest that may be impaired because the FOIA requests at issue pertain to information about him that would implicate his privacy interests.”
“Tinubu’s motion is GRANTED,” Ms Howell said on Monday noting that the court found the motion to intervene and incorporated memorandum to have satisfied all requirements.
Recall that the FBI had previously announced it would turn over approximately 2500 pages of information on Mr Tinubu in its database in five batches of 500 pages every month starting October but Mr Tinubu pleaded with the Court that he would be “adversely affected” should the records be released.
Anxious Nigerians had hoped to better understand the background of their leader shrouded in secrecy and trailed by decades-long controversies particularly the train of events that led to Mr Tinubu’s forfeiture of $460,000 — said to be proceeds of narcotics trafficking —to the U.S. government in 1993.
The records would have also clarified the name and date under which the Nigerian leader entered the U.S. and the nature of his activities on the foreign soil which have long been under contention.
Mr Greenspan’s attempts to urgently obtain Mr Tinubu’s records before the presidential electoral dispute was resolved by Nigeria’s Supreme Court were thwarted by Ms Howell last month after she ruled that the anti-corruption activist did not sufficiently justify his request for an urgent hearing to seek the expeditious release of the sought records against the need to protect Mr Tinubu’s interest.
Nevertheless, Ms Howell on Monday gave an order instructing Mr Tinubu to meet all deadlines as the matter proceeds.
“It is further ORDERED that Bola A. Tinubu will follow all deadlines set for the federal defendants in any scheduling orders, and endeavor in good faith to avoid duplicative briefing of arguments covered in the federal defendants’ briefs.