A US court has denied a request by a plaintiff, Aaron Greenspan, to compel the US security agencies to release information and documents on Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu. Greenspan had filed an emergency motion seeking to obtain the records from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and other agencies before the Nigerian Supreme Court’s hearing of the appeals by the opposition candidates, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi, against Tinubu’s election victory.
Greenspan claimed that he needed the records urgently to present them as evidence at the Supreme Court, which had moved the hearing date to October 23, 2023. He alleged that Tinubu had engaged in corruption, money laundering, drug trafficking, and human rights violations, and that the US agencies had information that could prove his allegations.
However, the US District Court of Columbia rejected his request on Monday, October 23, 2023, on the grounds that he failed to satisfy the relevant conditions for the grant of such a prayer. The court, presided over by Judge Beryl Howell, said that Greenspan did not show that his motion was in the public interest or that it outweighed the privacy rights of Tinubu. The court also noted that Tinubu had not been given an opportunity to protect his privacy interests in any such records.
The court said that Greenspan’s motion was “speculative” and “unsupported” by any evidence. It also said that Greenspan did not explain how he intended to use the records at the Nigerian Supreme Court or how they would affect the outcome of the appeals. The court added that Greenspan’s motion was “premature” and “moot” because he had not exhausted the administrative remedies available under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which he had invoked to request the records.
The court concluded that Greenspan’s motion for an emergency hearing to compel immediate document production was denied and that no hearing to determine the merits of his motion was necessary.
Meanwhile, Tinubu’s lawyers have filed a motion at the US court seeking to be allowed to defend the president in the suit. They argued that Greenspan’s suit was frivolous and malicious and that it was aimed at tarnishing Tinubu’s reputation and interfering with Nigeria’s sovereignty. They also asked the court to dismiss the suit for lack of jurisdiction and failure to state a claim.
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