A US federal judge has turned down a motion for the expeditious disclosure of President Bola Tinubu’s private documents.
Transparency advocate Aaron Greenspan, working with Nigerian journalist David Hundeyin, requested the documents, which were gathered by US law enforcement organizations such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
He asked Judge Beryl Howell to issue an urgent order requiring the FBI, State Department, and other U.S. agencies to promptly turn over the information, which they had planned to provide by the end of October, in his motion.
Judge Howell, however, turned down Mr. Greenspan’s motion, finding that he had not provided sufficient justification for his urgent hearing request.
Ms. Howell declared, “Plaintiff’s emergency motion for a hearing to compel immediate document production is denied.”
She added that Mr. Tinubu has not had a chance to defend his privacy rights in the records, which could contain extremely private and sensitive information.
The court granted Mr. Tinubu’s request for Christopher Carmichael, his attorney, to attend the hearing; but, she has not yet made a decision regarding the president’s request to become involved in the case.
Matthew Graves, a representative for the U.S. Department of Justice, stated that the government will not be taking a stand on whether Mr. Tinubu should become involved in the case.
Remember how the FBI said in September that it will provide Tinubu’s information in batches of 500 pages beginning in October in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request? On Monday, though, Tinubu submitted a move to prevent the disclosure of his documents.
In his request, Tinubu claims that the defendants in the case are not “fully representing or protecting” his interests, despite the fact that he has a “direct interest” in the data that are being sought. The motion further claims that denying Tinubu the opportunity to intervene will “adversely affect” his interests.
When Tinubu’s primary political rival, Atiku Abubakar, requested his academic documents from Chicago State University, Tinubu responded in a similar manner. The Nigerian president tried to stop this information from being released, but in the end, Atiku received access to the documents. Tinubu is accused of possessing Guinean citizenship in addition to charges pertaining to drug sales and providing falsified documents to INEC, the Nigerian election organization.