Library of Congress

Law Library of Congress

The Library of Congress > Law Library > News & Events > Global Legal Monitor

Nigeria: Freedom of Information Bill Passes Both Houses of Parliament

(May 31, 2011) News outlets are reporting that both houses of Nigeria's Parliament have adopted the harmonized version of the Freedom of Information Bill (hereinafter FOI). The House of Representatives initially adopted its version of the FOI on February 24, 2011, and a different version of the FOI was adopted by the Senate on March 16, 2011. (Hanibal Goitom, Nigeria: House of Representatives Approves Freedom of Information Bill, GLOBAL LEGAL MONITOR (Mar. 1, 2011); Nigerian Senate Passes Modified FOI Legislation, FREEDOM INFO.ORG (Mar. 16, 2011).) On May 24, 2011, both houses passed a harmonized version of the FOI that came out of a 12-member Harmonization Committee, bringing the legislation a step closer to taking effect, with only one hurdle left in the process: presidential assent. (Senate Passes Harmonized FOI Bill … Dedicates It to Journalists, THE NIGERIAN OBSERVER (May 25, 2011); Reps Passes [sic] FOI Bill, CHAMPION (May 25, 2011).)

The FOI guarantees the right of unhindered access to public information, including information held by all federal government branches and agencies, as well as private institutions in which any federal, state, or local government has a controlling interest and those private institutions performing public functions. (Goitom, supra.)

In addition, the FOI requires these institutions to take unilateral steps to become more transparent. As part of this provision, the institutions will be required to make public data on the programs and functions of their divisions; internal manuals used by employees in executing their functions; their finances; and the names, titles, and income of all their employees. (Id.)