U.S. Court Grants Tinubu’s Request to Intervene in Halting the Release of FBI Records

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The U.S. Court for the District of Columbia has granted President Bola Tinubu’s motion to intervene and oppose the release of his records held by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, and other top U.S. security agencies.

Judge Beryl A. Howell, on November 27, ruled in favour of Tinubu’s motion, determining that he met the four qualifying factors for intervention.

These factors, Politics Nigeria gathered, include the timeliness of the motion, the applicant’s interest in the records, the potential impairment of Tinubu’s ability to protect his interests, and the adequacy of his representation by existing parties.

The court’s decision allows Tinubu to intervene in the case filed by Aaron Greenspan, owner of Plainsite, a website promoting transparency and anti-corruption in public service. Greenspan had, together with the support of Nigerian journalist David Hundeyin, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request seeking the release of Tinubu’s records, a move that had drawn widespread attention in Nigeria.


“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,” Judge Howell stated in her ruling. “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.”

FBI had announced that it would release about 2500 pages of information on Mr Tinubu in its database in five batches of 500 pages every month starting October 2023. The Nigerian public had hoped the release would put to bed controversies pertaining to Mr Tinubu’s forfeiture of $460,000, said to be proceeds of narcotics trafficking, to the U.S. government in 1993.

Tinubu has said he will be “adversely affected” should the records be released.

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