The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has said it would not release any confidential documents or information on President Bola Tinubu to the public.
The United States federal agency made this known on Monday in response to a suit filed before the United States District Court of the District of Columbia by an American activist, Aaron Greenspan.
The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have said the plaintiff (Greenspan) is merely seeking to reargue his position on which the court has already ruled.
The agencies asked the court to deny the plaintiff’s motion for reconsideration, adding that based on the earlier order, they didn’t plan to release documents, even if they have them, about the Nigerian leader, as he is entitled to his privacy.
“The Court properly characterized that motion as a motion for a temporary restraining order and determined that the plaintiff did not satisfy his burden of showing that he would succeed on the merits as to FOIA exemptions and irreparable injury is likely, and the balance of equities favor him or granting the motion would further the public interest because Tinubu has privacy interests that should be considered,” the agencies said.
Greenspan is seeking to compel the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to release documents about Tinubu and one Mueez Adegboyega Akande.
The activist had filed an application for the court to reconsider its ruling on October 23, rejecting his emergency motion for the release of the documents and information he is seeking in the substantive suit he filed under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Greenspan had, in June this year, filed the civil suit, with number: 23 – 1816 under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), against the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA), Department of State (DOS), Federal Bureau of Investigation FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)
He alleged that the defendants – EOUSA, DOS, FBI, IRS, DEA and the CIA violated the FOIA by “failing to issue determinations within the statutory deadline,” “failing] to conduct reasonable searches for records,” and “failing to produce records responsive to” his FOIA requests.
Greenspan had, in the FOIA request to the EOUSA, sought “records from the Northern District of Illinois and/or Northern District of Indiana involving charging decisions for the following individuals – Bola Ahmed Tinubu (President of Nigeria as of 2/2023” and “Mueez Adegboyega Akande (deceased as of 11/16/2022.”
He told the court, among others, that his request for prompt release of the documents, even before the hearing scheduled for October 31, was because “the Nigerian Supreme Court will hear an appeal of a judicial tribunal’s decision confirming Tinubu as President of Nigeria on Monday, October 23, 2023.”
Greenspan claimed that the Nigerian Supreme Court deliberately moved the hearing of the appeals by Atiku and Obi to October 23 to render his suit before the U.S court nugatory, contending that the documents he requested “would likely be directly relevant to the foreign proceedings in Nigeria.”
In his October 23 ruling, Judge Beryl Howell of the US District Court of the District of Columbia, held, among others, that Greenspan failed to satisfy the relevant conditions for the grant of his prayer for temporary relief, as contained in the emergency hearing motion he filed on October 20.
Judge Howell further held that Greenspan failed to establish that he was likely to succeed on the merits; that he was likely to suffer irreparable harm if the preliminary relief he sought was not granted; that the balance of equities tips in his favour, and that the relief he seeks is in the public interest.
Meanwhile, President Tinubu’s lawyers have filed a motion before the court, seeking to be made a party to enable them to defend the President in the suit.