Nigeria: Secrecy in Govt Undermines Access to Information - Guild of Editors

28 September 2021

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has expressed worry over the level in which federal government agencies, ministries and other institutions are abiding by deep-rooted order of secrecy in accessing and management of public information.

It decried what it called deliberate and sustained efforts of many federal government agencies and ministries to undermine the implementation of the Act.

In a statement Monday to mark the International Day for Universal Access to Information, signed by its President, Mustapha Isah and the General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the NGE said that in spite of the existence of the Act, there were still contentious issues over its implementation.

It said the theme of the 2021 International Day for Universal Access to Information is to highlight the role of access to information laws and their implementation in order to "build back strong institutions."

The statement partly read: "We wonder why a government that said to be fighting corruption is working very hard to frustrate a law that is designed to stimulate accountability of public officers to the citizenry and transparency in the conduct of public business.

"The National Assembly is a major culprit in frustrating the implementation of FIOA. The institution has consistently failed/refused to comply with FOIA. It has failed to offer any information, as requested by citizens, media houses and members of the civil society organisations."

The NGE also noted that the Oath of Secrecy being administered on public servants by the Presidency, as seen recently, had become a strong factor against the implementation of the FOI Act.

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