Sunday, April 24, 2005

Freedom of Information Bill for Nigeria

From Ime Akpan:

"The Senate Committee on Information is holding a public hearing Tuesday, April 26, for a version of Freedom of Information Bill passed by the lower House Q3, 2004 and captioned HB.6 (short forHouse Bill No. 6). I happened to come into the picture exactly a month ago, when a second attempt at a public hearing flopped, because of rumpus in the National Assembly that climaxed in a change in the leadership of the Senate. In the interval, it was possible to develop the alternative, a copy of which is being sent to you, in recognition of your role as a veritable campaign platform for freedom of information. I am billed to address the forum on the Bill for about a quarter ofan hour come April 26, and intend to keep you posted on the mind of the legislature, whether it is inclined to forward HB.6 or to adopt the alternative or attempt to reconcile both.

Some highlights of the alternative include the following:
• Objects of the Bill
• Presumptions of right, severability and of course, bad faith
• Creation of a help desk unit within the Bill’s jurisdiction
• A duty to publish just the sort of information for which enquiries are most frequently made
• A duty to assist applicants desirous of exercising their right of access to information
• Guidance in properly doing so
• Imposition of personal not official and responsibility for violations of its provisions
• The introduction of effective deterrents to such violations
• An elaborate Interpretation that seeks to clarify and eliminate any ambiguities"

-Press release
FOI Bill (sections)
-Draft FOI Bill

No comments: