Access to information and transparency: opportunities and challenges for Nigeria's FOI Act 2011

TitleAccess to information and transparency: opportunities and challenges for Nigeria's FOI Act 2011
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsM. Adebayo, and A. Akinyoade
EditorF. Diallo, and R. Calland
Secondary TitleAccess to information in Africa: law, culture and practices
Series titleAfrika-Studiecentrum series ; vol. 27
Pagination261 - 285
Date Published2013///
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng

This chapter assesses the characteristics of Nigeria's Freedom of Information Act, 2011 (FOIA), first in relation to previous Acts in Nigeria which partly regulated access to information, and second, in relation to merging challenges. Content review and assessment of public perception of the FOIA (passed on 26 May 2011) shows that the Act is intended to make public records and information more freely available and accessible to members of the public and also allow them to have recourse to the courts in the event that their request for information is denied. The law purposefully deals with the shortcomings of pre-existing Acts by introducing statutory provisions aimed at recognizing, ensuring, protecting, and encouraging the exersise of the public's right to information. Information 'sacredness' still persists in public agencies, and the FOIA cannot achieve its purpose without the general public accepting the collective responsibility of demanding and ensuring a transparent government. Consequently, awareness and enlightenment programs should be frequently organized so as to create a participatory platform for members of the public; the judiciary should also actively play its watch-dog role; and the legislature should exercise its mandate to monitor the implementation of the Act and to ensure that it is kept up to date by regular reviews.

Citation Key5955