Editor's Note

The FOI Advocate is a compendium of ideas, edited story excerpts and other materials from a variety of Web sites, as well as original concepts and analysis. When the information comes directly from another source, it will be attributed and a link will be provided whenever possible. The blog relies on the accuracy and integrity of the original sources cited. We will correct errors and inaccuracies when we become aware of them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Nigerian FOI Bill: Introduced in 1999...and still waiting

On the 14 July, This Day announced the freedom of information bill brought before the Nigerian National Assembly in 1999 has now become the oldest unpassed legislation still pending before that body.

The articles says the bill has been subject to “unprecedented debate, wrangling and bickering between the nation’s law makers and various stakeholders.”

This situation is certainly troubling, with an article featuring in the Nigerian newspaper Punch titled ’Pass the FOI Bill now or history will mock you’. It quotes the National Chairman of the Peoples Salvation Party, Dr. Junaid Mohammad, as saying:

There cannot be democracy without the rule of law. The essence of the rule of law is to hold power and those who wield power are accountable to the people. This necessitates transparency and full protection of the media, otherwise the very essence of democracy is in peril…

The Freedom of Information Bill will be passed into law by the present National Assembly or another one will do that and put the incumbent legislators to shame…

Lawmakers have, to date, been reluctant to pass the bill because of a fear that it will give too much power to the media, which the BBC describes as one of the most vibrant in Africa.

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