Country

Nigeria

Nigeria

Name of law : Freedom of Information Bill
First adopted : 2011

Section Max ScoreScore
Right of Access 6 3
Scope 30 29
Requesting procedures 30 12
Exceptions 30 22
Appeals 30 4
Sanctions 8 7
Promotional measures 16 11
TOTAL 150 88

Introduction:
The Freedom of Information Bill's extremely broad scope and strong promotional regime are significant strengths, but unfortunately its lack of an independent appeals body and the weakness of its judicial remedies are grave shortcomings which could strongly interfere with implementation of this newly passed law.
Right of Access

Indicator

Description

Scoring instructions
MAX score
Findings

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Article

Comments
1 The legal framework (including jurisprudence) recognises a fundamental right of access to information.Score 0 for no constitutional right to information, 1 point for a limited constitutional right, 2 points for full constitutional recognition of a public right of access to information.2 YES 2(1): "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, Law or Regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described, is hereby established."
2 The legal framework creates a specific presumption in favour of access to all information held by public authorities, subject only to limited exceptions.No=0, Partially=1, Yes=22 NO Not mentioned.
3 3.1 The legal framework contains a specific statement of principles calling for a broad interpretation of the RTI law
3.2 The legal framework emphasises the benefits of the right to information?
3.1(Y/N - max 1 point)
3.2 (Y/N - max 1 point)
2 Partially Explanatory Memorandum: "AN ACT TO MAKE PUBLIC RECORDS AND INFORMATION MORE FREELY AVAILABLE, PROVIDE FOR PUBLIC ACCESS TO PUBLIC RECORDS AND INFORMATION, PROTECT PUBLIC RECORDS AND INFORMATION TO THE EXTENT CONSISTENT WITH THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND THE PROTECTION OF PERSONAL PRIVACY, PROTECT SERVING PUBLIC OFFICERS FROM ADVERSE CONSEQUENCES FOR DISCLOSING CERTAIN KINDS OF OFFICIAL INFORMATION WITHOUT AUTHORIZATION AND ESTABLISH PROCEDURES FOR THE ACHIEVEMENT OF THOSE PURPOSES AND RELATED PURPOSES THEREOF, 2011 1 - The Act does not contain a specific “statement of principles” the “Explanatory Memorandum” explains the purpose and objectives of the Act which is to make “public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, protect public records and information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy, protect serving public officers from adverse consequences for disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorization and establish procedures for the achievement of those purposes.”




Scope

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MAX score
Findings

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4 Everyone (including non-citizens and legal entities) has the right to file requests for information.Score 0 point if only residents/citizens; 1 point for all natural persons; 1 point for legal persons. 2 YES 2(1): "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, Law or Regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described, is hereby established." 32: "<...> “Person” include a corporation sole, and also bo dy of persons whether cor porate or incorporate; acting individually or as a group; <...>" 2(1) - right of any person. Art 32 definition of person includes legal persons.
5 The right of access applies to all material held by or on behalf of public authorities which is recorded in any format, regardless of who produced it.Score 1-3 points if limited definition of information information such as not "internal documents" or databases excluded, 4 points for all information with no exceptions.4 YES 2(1): "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, Law or Regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described, is hereby established." 2(1) - info of any kind in the custody of officials.
6 Requesters have a right to access both information and records/documents (i.e. a right both to ask for information and to apply for specific documents).Score 1 point for only documents, 1 point for information2 YES 2(1): "Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, Law or Regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in the custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described, is hereby established." 4(2): "For the purpose of this Bill, any information or record applied for under this Bill that does not exist in print but can by regulation be produced from a machine, normally used by the government or public institution shall be deemed to be record under the control of the Government or public institution." 2(1) - info of any kind in the custody of officials. 4(2) reaffirms this.
7 The right of access applies to the executive branch with no bodies or classes of information excluded.This includes executive (cabinet) and adminsitration including all ministries, departments, local government, public schools, public health care bodies, the police, the armed forces, security services, and bodies owned or controlled by the above.Score 4 points for central government agencies covered: 1 for the head of state, 1 for ministries, 1 for other non-statutory agencies created by the ministries, 1 for state and local government if the government is unitary. If it´s a federalist system, 2 points for the non-statutory agencies. This can be determined by examining the length and thoroughness of the list, if such a schedule exists. Score 1 point for the archives. Add three points and deduct 1 for each exempted central agency (such as the armed forces, police, etc).8 Partially 3(7): "Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra-ministerial departments of the government, together with all corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and also, private companies utilizing public funds, providing public services or performing public functions." 27: "This Bill does not apply to— (a) published material or material available for purchase by the public; (b) Library or museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for public reference or exhibition purposes; or (c) material placed in the National Library, the National Museum or the non-public section of the National Archives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on behalf of any person or organization other than a government and/or public institution." Art 3(7) mentions the entire executive, and all other agencies of government But art 27 partially excludes the archives. Though this is mainly applied to material held in safe keeping that relates to third parties, they still use a point because they were overly broad excluding it as a class, rather than relying on an exclusion for personal information.
8 The right of access applies to the legislature, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all legislative branch at all levels of government4 YES 3(7): "Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra-ministerial departments of the government, together with all corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and also, private companies utilizing public funds, providing public services or performing public functions."
9 The right of access applies to the judicial branch, including both administrative and other information, with no bodies excluded. Score 1 point if the law only applies to administrative documents, 2-3 points if some bodies excluded, 4 points if all judicial branch at all levels of government4 YES 3(7): "Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra-ministerial departments of the government, together with all corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and also, private companies utilizing public funds, providing public services or performing public functions."
10 The right of access applies to State-owned enterprises (commercial entities that are owned or controlled by the State). Score 1 point if some, 2 points if all2 YES 3(7): "Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra-ministerial departments of the government, together with all corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and also, private companies utilizing public funds, providing public services or performing public functions."
11 The right of access applies to other public authorities, including constitutional, statutory and oversight bodies (such as an election commission or information commission/er). Score 1 point if some bodies, 2 points if all2 YES 3(7): "Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra-ministerial departments of the government, together with all corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and also, private companies utilizing public funds, providing public services or performing public functions."
12 The right of access applies to a) private bodies that perform a public function and b) private bodies that receive significant public funding. 1 point for public functions, 1 point for public funding 2 YES 3(7): "Public institutions are all authorities whether executive, legislative or judicial agencies, ministries, and extra-ministerial departments of the government, together with all corporations established by law and all companies in which government has a controlling interest, and also, private companies utilizing public funds, providing public services or performing public functions."

Requesting Procedures

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Comments
13 Requesters are not required to provide reasons for their requests.Y/N answer 0 or 2 points2 YES 2(2): "An applicant herein need not demonstrate any specific interest in the information being applied for."
14 Requesters are only required to provide the details necessary for identifying and delivering the information (i.e. some form of address for delivery).Score Max 2 points and deduct if requesters are required to give any of the following: ID number, telephone number, residential address, etc.2 NO
15 There are clear and relatively simple procedures for making requests. Requests may be submitted by any means of communication, with no requirement to use official forms or to state that the information is being requested under the access to information law.Max 2 points. Considerations include that there is no requirement to state that the request is under the RTI law, nor to use an official form, nor to identify the document being sought. 2 NO Not mentioned.
16 Public officials are required provide assistance to help requesters formulate their requests, or to contact and assist requesters where requests that have been made are vague, unduly broad or otherwise need clarification. Score 1 point for help in formulation and 1 point for clarification procedures2 NO Not mentioned.
17     Public officials are required to provide assistance to requesters who require it because of special needs, for example because they are illiterate or disabled.Score Yes=2 point, No=02 YES 4(3): "Illiterate or disabled applicants who by virtue of their illiteracy or disability are unable to make an application for access to information or record in accordance with the provisions of subsection (1) above, may make that application through a third party." 4(4): "An authorized official of a government or public institution to whom an applicant makes an oral application for information or record, shall reduce the application into writing in the form prescribed under subsection (1) a bove and shall provide a copy of the written application to the applicant."
18 Requesters are provided with a receipt or acknowledgement upon lodging a request within a reasonable timeframe, which should not exceed 5 working daysScore 1 point for receipt, 1 point for max 5 working days2 NO Not mentioned.
19 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for situations where the authority to which a request is directed does not have the requested information. This includes an obligation to inform the requester that the information is not held and to refer the requester to another institution or to transfer the request where the public authority knows where the information is held.Score: 1 point for information not held, 1 for referrals or 2 for transfers2 Partially 6(1): "Where a public institution receives an application for access to information, and the institution is of the view that another public institution has greater interest in the information, the institution to which the application is made may within 3 days but not later than 7 days after the application is received, transfer the application, and if necessary, the information, to the other public institution, in which case, the institution transferring the application shall give written notice of the transfer to the applicant, which notice shall contain a statement informing the applicant that such decision to transfer the application can be reviewed by a Court." 6(1) allows transfers, but permits them where another institution has a greater interest in the information
20 Public authorities are required to comply with requesters’ preferences regarding how they access information, subject only to clear and limited overrides (e.g. to protect a record).Score: 2 points for Yes, only 1 point if some limitations2 NO Not mentioned.
21 Public authorities are required to respond to requests as soon as possible.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points 2 NO Not mentioned.
22 There are clear and reasonable maximum timelines (20 working days or less) for responding to requests, regardless of the manner of satisfying the request (including through publication).Score: 1 point for timeframes of 20 working days (or 1 month, 30 days or 4 weeks). Score 2 points for 10 working days (or 15 days, or two weeks) or less.2 YES 5(a) : "make the information available to the applicant;" 7 days
23 There are clear limits on timeline extensions (20 working days or less), including a requirement that requesters be notified and provided with the reasons for the extension.---2 YES 7: "The public institution may extend the time limit set out in section 5 or subsection 6 (1) in respect of an application for a time not exceeding 7 days; if – (a) the application is for a large number of records and meeting the original time limit would unreasonably interfere with the operations of the public institution; or (b) consultations are necessary to comply with the application that cannot reasonably be completed within the original time limit, by giving notice of the extension stating whether the extension falls under the circumstances set out in paragraphs (a) or (b), which notice shall contain a statement that the applicant has a right to have the decision to extend the time limit reviewed by a Court." Art 7 - 7 additional days with notice requirement
24 It is free to file requests.Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 YES Act says that the fees are “limited to standard charges for document duplication and transcription where necessary”. Expert says that this is interpreted as an access fee, not a requesting fee.
25 There are clear rules relating to access fees, which are set centrally, rather than being determined by individual public authorities. These include a requirement that fees be limited to the cost of reproducing and sending the information (so that inspection of documents and electronic copies are free) and a certain initial number of pages (at least 20) are provided for free. Score 1 point for fees being limited to reproduction and delivery costs and set centrally, 1 point for at least 20 pages free of charge or for fees being optional2 Partially 9: "Fees shall be limited to standard charges for document duplication and transcription where necessary." Art 9 limits them to "standard charges for document duplication and transcription where necessary”.
26   There are fee waivers for impecunious requesters ---2 NO Not mentioned.
27 There are no limitations on or charges for reuse of information received from public bodies, except where a third party (which is not a public authority) holds a legally-protected copyright over the information. Score: No=0, Yes=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.


Exceptions

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28 The standards in the RTI Law trump restrictions on information disclosure (secrecy provisions) in other legislation to the extent of any conflict.Score 4 points for a resounding "yes" and 1/2/3 points if only for some classes of information or for some exceptions. If the state secrets law is not trumped by the RTI law max score is 2 points. 4 YES 29: " (1) The fact that any information in the custody of a public institution is kept by that institution under security classification or is classified document within the meaning of the Official Secrets Act does not preclude it from being disclosed pursuant to an application for disclosure thereof under the provisions of this Bill, but in every case the public institution to which the application is made shall decide whethe r such information is of a type referred to in sections 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, or 20 of this Bill. (2) If the public institution to which the application in subsection (1) is made, decides that such information is not a type mentioned in the sections referred to in subsection (1) hereof, access to such information shall be given to the applicant. (3) If the public institution to which the application mentioned in subsection (1) is made decides that such information is of a type mentioned in sections referred to in subsection (1), he shall give notice to the applicant." 31(2): "Where the question whether any public record and or information is to be made available, where that question arises under this Bill, the question shall be determined in accordance with the provision stated herein, unless otherwise exempted by this Bill." Art 29 says that this overrules the official secrets act, and 31(2) reinforces this.
29 The exceptions to the right of access are consistent with international standards. Permissible exceptions are: national security; international relations; public health and safety; the prevention, investigation and prosecution of legal wrongs; privacy; legitimate commercial and other economic interests; management of the economy; fair administration of justice and legal advice privilege; conservation of the environment; and legitimate policy making and other operations of public authorities. It is also permissible to refer requesters to information which is already publicly available, for example online or in published form.Score 10 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which either (a) falls outside of this list and/or (b) is more broadly framed10 YES
30 A harm test applies to all exceptions, so that it is only where disclosure poses a risk of actual harm to a protected interest that it may be refused. Score 4 points and then deduct 1 point for each exception which is not subject to the harm test 4 Partially 16(1)(a) : "trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person or business where such trade secrets or information are proprietary, privileged or confidential, or where disclosure of such trade secrets or information may cause harm to the interests of the third party: Provided that nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed as preventing a person or business from consenting to disclosure;" 18: "A public institution may deny an application for information which contains course materials or research materials prepared by faculty members." 16(1)(a) - commercial property/trade secrets. Art 18 - course materials or research materials prepared by faculty members.
31 There is a mandatory public interest override so that information must be disclosed where this is in the overall public interest, even if this may harm a protected interest. There are ‘hard’ overrides (which apply absolutely), for example for information about human rights, corruption or crimes against humanity.Consider whether the override is subject to overarching limitations, whether it applies to only some exceptions, and whether it is mandatory.4 Partially 12: "(1) A public institution may deny an application for any information the disclosure of which may be injurious to the conduct of international affairs and the defence of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. (2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), an application for information shall not be denied where the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs whatever injury disclosure would cause." 13: " (1) A public institution may deny an application for any information which contains— (a) records complied by any public institution for administrative enforcement proceedings and by any law enforcement or correctional agency for law enforcement purposes or for internal matters of a public institution, but only to the extent that disclosure would— (i) interfere with pending or actual and reasonably contemplated law enforcement proceedings conducted by any law enforcement or correctional agency; (ii) interfere with pending administrative enforcement proceedings conducted by any public institution; (iii) deprive a person of a fair trial or an impartial hearing; (iv) unavoidably disclose the identity of a confidential source; (v) constitute an invasion of personal privacy under section 15 of this Bill, however, where the interest of the public would be better served by having such record being made available, this exemption to disclosure shall not apply; (vi) obstruct an ongoing criminal investigation; (b) information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to be injurious to the security of penal institutions: Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, an application for information shall not be denied where the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs whatever injury that disclosure would cause. (2) A public institution may deny an application for information that could reasonably be expected to facilitate the commission of an offence. (3) For the purposes of paragraph (1) (a), “Investigation” means an investigation that— (a) pertains to the administration or enforcement of any Acts, law or regulation; (b) is authorized by or pursuant to any Acts, law or regulation." 15: " (1) Subject to subsection (2), a public institution shall deny an application for information that contains personal information. Information exempted under this subsection shall include – (i) files and personal information maintained with respect to clients, patients, residents, students, or other individuals receiving social, medical, educational, vocational, financial, supervisory or custodial care or services directly or indirectly from public institutions; (ii) personnel files and personal information maintained with respect to employees, appointees or elected officials of any public institution or applicants for such positions; (iii) files and personal information maintained with respect to any applicant, registrant or licensee by any government and/or public institution cooperating with or engaged in professional or occupational registration, licensure or discipline; (iv) information required of any tax payer in connection with the assessment or collection of any tax unless disclosure is otherwise requested by statute; and (v) information revealing the identity of persons who file complaints with or provide information to administrative, investigative, law enforcement or penal agencies on the commission of any crime. (2) A public institution shall disclose any information that contains personal information if – (a) the individual to whom it relates consents to the disclosure; (b) the information is publicly available. (3) Where disclosure of any information referred to in this section would be in the public interest, and if the public interest in the disclosure of such information clearly outweighs the protection of the privacy of the individual to whom such information relates, the public institution to whom a request for disclosure is made shall disclose such information subject to section 13 (2) of this Bill." 16: " (1) A public institution shall deny an application for information that contains – (a) trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a person or business where such trade secrets or information are proprietary, privileged or confidential, or where disclosure of such trade secrets or information may cause harm to the interests of the third party: Provided that nothing contained in this subsection shall be construed as preventing a person or business from consenting to disclosure; (b) information the disclosure of which could reasonably be expected to interfere with the contractual or other negotiations of a third party; (c) proposal and bids for any contract, grants, or agreement, including information which if it were disclosed would frustrate procurement or give an advantage to any person. (2) A public institution shall not, pursuant to subsection (1), deny disclosure of a part of a record if that part contains the result or product of environmental testing carried out by or on behalf of a public institution. (3) Where the public institution discloses information, or a part thereof, that contains the results of a product or environmental testing, the institution shall at the same time as the information or part thereof is disclosed provide the applicant with a written explanation of the methods used in conducting the test. (4) A public institution shall disclose any information described in paragraph (1)(a), (b) and (c) if that disclosure would be in the public interest as it relates to public health, public safety or protection of the environment and, if the public interest in the disclosure clearly outweighs in importance any financial loss or gain to, or prejudice to the competitive position of or interference with contractual or other negotiation of a third party." Public interest override applies in Art 12, 13, 15, 16 - everything except professional privilege.
32 Information must be released as soon as an exception ceases to apply (for example, for after a contract tender process decision has been taken). The law contains a clause stating that exceptions to protect public interests do not apply to information which is over 20 years old.Score 1 point for each2 NO No sunset clauses
33 Clear and appropriate procedures are in place for consulting with third parties who provided information which is the subject of a request on a confidential basis. Public authorities shall take into account any objections by third parties when considering requests for information, but third parties do not have veto power over the release of information.Score: 1 point for consultation, 1 further point if original time frames must be respected and the law allows for expedited appeals.2 NO 15(2): "A public institution shall disclose any information that contains personal information if – (a) the individual to whom it relates consents to the disclosure; (b) the information is publicly available." 15(2) allows individuals to consent, but provides no mechanism for consultation.
34 There is a severability clause so that where only part of a record is covered by an exception the remainder must be disclosed. Score 1 point if yes but sometimes can be refused (eg: if deletions render meaningless the document) and 2 points if partial access must always be granted2 YES 19: "Notwithstanding any other provision of this Bill, where an application is made to a public institution for information which is exempted from disclosure by virtue of this Bill, the institution shall disclose any part of the information that does not contain such exempted information."
35 When refusing to provide access to information, public authorities must a) state the exact legal grounds and reason(s) for the refusal and b) inform the applicant of the relevant appeals procedures.Score Y/N: 1 point for a and 1 point for b2 Partially 5(b): "where the public institution considers that the application should be denied, the institution shall give written notice to the applicant that access to all or part of the information will not be granted, stating reasons for the denial, and the section of this Bill under which the denial is made." 8: "(1) Where the government or public institution refuses to give access to a record or information applied for under this Bill, or a part thereof, the institution shall state in the notice given to the applicant the grounds for the refusal, the specific provision of this Bill that it relates to and that the applicant has a right to challenge the decision refusing access and have it reviewed by a Court. (2) Any notification of denial of any application for information or records shall set forth the names, designation and signature, of each person responsible for the denial of such application. (3) The government or public institution shall be required to indicate under subsection (1) whether the information or record exists. (4) Where the government or public institution fails to give access to information or record applied for under this Bill or part thereof within the time limit set out in this Bill, the institution shall, for the purposes of this Bill, be deemed to have refused to give access. (5) Where a case of wrongful denial of access is established, the defaulting officer or institution shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N500,000.00 (Five hundred thousand naira). 5(b) requires reasons, Art 8 requires notification of appeal procedures.


Appeals

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Comments
36 The law offers an internal appeal which is simple, free of charge and completed within clear timelines (20 working days or less).Score 2 points if the internal appeal fulfills these criteria, 1 point if an appeal is offered that does not fulfill this criteria, 0 for no internal appeals.2 NO Not mentioned.
37 Requesters have the right to lodge an (external) appeal with an independent administrative oversight body (e.g. an information commission or ombudsman). 1 for partial, 2 for yes2 NO Not mentioned.
38 The member(s) of the oversight body are appointed in a manner that is protected against political interference and have security of tenure so they are protected against arbitrary dismissal (procedurally/substantively) once appointed.Score: 1 point for appointment procedure, 1 point for security of tenure2 NO Not mentioned.
39 The oversight body reports to and has its budget approved by the parliament, or other effective mechanisms are in place to protect its financial independence.Score 1 point for reports to parliament, 1 point for budget approved by parliament2 NO Not mentioned.
40 There are prohibitions on individuals with strong political connections from being appointed to this body and requirements of professional expertise.Score 1 point for not politically connected, 1 point for professional expertise2 NO Not mentioned.
41 The independent oversight body has the necessary mandate and power to perform its functions, including to review classified documents and inspect the premises of public bodies.Score 1 point for reviewing classified documents, 1 point for inspection powers2 NO Not mentioned.
42 The decisions of the independent oversight body are binding. Score N=0, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
43 In deciding an appeal, the independent oversight body has the power to order appropriate remedies for the requester, including the declassification of information. 1 for partial, 2 for fully2 NO Not mentioned.
44 Requesters have the right to lodge a judicial appeal.1 for partially, 2 for fully.2 YES 20: "A public institution may deny an application for information that contains information pertaining to – (a) test questions, scoring keys and other examination data used to administer an academic examination or determine the qualifications of an application for a license or employment; (b) architects’ and engineers’ plans for buildings not constructed in whole or in part with public funds and for buildings constructed with public funds, to the extent that disclosure would compromise security; and (c) library circulation and other records identifying library users with specific materials: Notwithstanding anything contained in this section, an application for information shall not be denied where the public interest in disclosing the information outweighs whatever injury that disclosure would cause."
45 Appeals to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are free of charge and do not require legal assistance.1 for free, 1 for no lawyer required. 2 NO Not mentioned.
46 The grounds for appeal to the oversight body (where applicable, or to the judiciary if no such body exists) are broad (including not only refusals to provide information but also refusals to provide information in the form requested, administrative silence and other breach of timelines, charging excessive fees, etc.).Score 1 point for appealing refusals, additional points for appealing other violations.4 NO Not mentioned.
47 Clear procedures, including timelines, are in place for dealing with external appeals (oversight/judicial).Score 1 point for clear procedures, 1 point for timelines. 2 NO Not mentioned.
48 In the appeal process (oversight/judicial/) the government bears the burden of demonstrating that it did not operate in breach of the rules.Score Y/N and award 2 points for yes. 2 YES 24: "In any proceedings before the Court arising from an application under section 21, the Court shall take precaution, including when appropriate, receiving representations ex parte and conducting hearings in camera to avoid the disclosure by the Court or any person of any information or other material on a basis of which any public institution will be authorized to disclose the information applied for."
49 The external appellate body has the power to impose appropriate structural measures on the public authority (e.g. to conduct more training or to engage in better record management)1 for partial, 2 for fully. 2 NO Not mentioned.


Sanctions & Proteccions

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50 Sanctions may be imposed on those who wilfully act to undermine the right to information, including through the unauthorised destruction of information.Score 1 point for sanctions for underming right, 1 point for destruction of documents 2 YES 11: " It shall be a criminal offence punishable on conviction by a competent Court with a minimum of 1 year imprisonment for any officer or the head of any government or public institution to which this Bill applies to willfully destroy any records kept in his/her custody or attempts to doctor or otherwise alter same before they are released to any person, entity or community applying for it. 8: "(1) Where the government or public institution refuses to give access to a record or information applied for under this Bill, or a part thereof, the institution shall state in the notice given to the applicant the grounds for the refusal, the specific provision of this Bill that it relates to and that the applicant has a right to challenge the decision refusing access and have it reviewed by a Court. (2) Any notification of denial of any application for information or records shall set forth the names, designation and signature, of each person responsible for the denial of such application. (3) The government or public institution shall be required to indicate under subsection (1) whether the information or record exists. (4) Where the government or public institution fails to give access to information or record applied for under this Bill or part thereof within the time limit set out in this Bill, the institution shall, for the purposes of this Bill, be deemed to have refused to give access. (5) Where a case of wrongful denial of access is established, the defaulting officer or institution shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N500,000.00 (Five hundred thousand naira)." Art 11 creates a sanction for destroying documents or doctoring them, and Art 8 has a fine for witholding access wrongfully - between the 2 that seems to cover it.
51 There is a system for redressing the problem of public authorities which systematically fail to disclose information or underperform (either through imposing sanctions on them or requiring remedial actions of them).Score 1 point for either remedial action or sanctions, 2 points for both 2 Partially 8(5): "Where a case of wrongful denial of access is established, the defaulting officer or institution shall on conviction be liable to a fine of N500,000.00 (Five hundred thousand naira)." 8(5) provides for a sanction for wrongfully withholding information.
52 The independent oversight body and its staff are granted legal immunity for acts undertaken in good faith in the exercise or performance of any power, duty or function under the RTI Law. Others are granted similar immunity for the good faith release of information pursuant to the RTI Law.Score 1 for oversight body, 1 for immunity for others2 YES 28 (1): "Notwithstanding anything contained in the Criminal Code, Penal Code, the Official of Secrets Act, or any other enactment, no civil or criminal proceedings shall lie against an officer Protection of Public Officers, of any public institution, or against any person acting on behalf of a public institution, and no proceedings shall lie against such persons thereof, for the disclosure in good faith of any information, or any part thereof pursuant to this Bill, for any consequences that flow from that disclosure, or for the failure to give any notice required under this Bill, if care is taken to give the required notice."
53 There are legal protections against imposing sanctions on those who, in good faith, release information which discloses wrongdoing (i.e. whistleblowers).Score 2 for strong protections, 1 for moderate protections2 YES 28 (1): "Notwithstanding anything contained in the Criminal Code, Penal Code, the Official of Secrets Act, or any other enactment, no civil or criminal proceedings shall lie against an officer Protection of Public Officers, of any public institution, or against any person acting on behalf of a public institution, and no proceedings shall lie against such persons thereof, for the disclosure in good faith of any information, or any part thereof pursuant to this Bill, for any consequences that flow from that disclosure, or for the failure to give any notice required under this Bill, if care is taken to give the required notice."


Promotional measures

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Description

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MAX score
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Comments
54 Public authorities are required to appoint dedicated officials (information officers) or units with a responsibility for ensuring that they comply with their information disclosure obligations.Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES Section 2(3)(f). The Act requires every public institution to proactively publish the title and address of the appropriate officer of the institution to whom an application for information should be sent.
55 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, is given overall responsibility for promoting the right to information. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially 30(5)(b): " The Attorney General shall in his oversight responsibility under this Bill ensure that all institutions to which this Bill applies comply with the provisions of the Bill." Art 30(5)(b) gives something like this to the attorney general - but it doesn't quite fit within the idea of "promoting".
56 Public awareness-raising efforts (e.g. producing a guide for the public or introducing RTI awareness into schools) are required to be undertaken by law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 NO Not mentioned.
57 A system is in place whereby minimum standards regarding the management of records are set and applied. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially 3(1): "A public institution shall ensure that it records and keeps information about all its activities, operations and businesses." 10: "(1) Every government or public institution shall ensure that it keeps every information or record about the institution’s operations, personnel, activities and other relevant or related information or records. (2) Every government or public institution shall ensure the proper organization and maintenance of all information or record in its custody, in a manner that facilitates public access to such information or record under this Bill." Art 3(1) and Art 10 mention this - but are vague
58 Public authorities are required to create and update lists or registers of the documents in their possession, and to make these public. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 Partially 3(2): "A public institution shall ensure the proper organization and maintenance of all information in its custody in a manner that facilitates public access to such information." 3(2) mentions the need to organize information, but if vague on how this should be done.
59 Training programs for officials are required Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 14: "Every government or public institution must ensure the provision of appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right to access to information or records held by government or public institutions, as provided for in this Bill and for the effective implementation of this Bill."
60 Public authorities are required to report annually on the actions they have taken to implement their disclosure obligations. This includes statistics on requests received and how they were dealt with. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 30(1): "On or before February 1 of each year, each public institution shall submit to the Attorney-General of the Federation a report which shall cover the preceding fiscal year and which shall include— (a) the number of determinations made by the Public Institution not to comply with applications for information made to such public institution and the reasons for each such determinations; (b) the number of appeals made by persons under this Bill, and the reason for the action upon each appeal that results in a denial of information; (c) a description of whether a court has upheld the decision of the public institution to withhold information under such circumstances and a concise description of the scope of any information withheld; (d) the number of applications for information pending before the public institution as of October 31 of the preceding year and the median number of days that such application had been pending before the public institution as of that date; (e) the number or applications for information received by the public institution and the number of applications which the public institution processed; (f) the median number of days taken by the public institution to process different types of application for information; (g) the total amount of fees collected by the public institution to process such applications; and (h) the number of full-time staff of the public institution devoted to processing applications for information, and the total amount expended by the public institution for processing such applications."
61 A central body, such as an information commission(er) or government department, has an obligation to present a consolidated report to the legislature on implementation of the law. Score Y/N, Y=2 points2 YES 30(6): "The Attorney-General shall submit to the National Assembly an annual report on or before April 1 of each calendar year which shall include for the prior calendar year a listing of the number of cases arising under this Bill, the exemption involved in each case, the disposition of such cases, and the cost, fees, and penalties assessed."