Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), a Kwara-based Civil Society Organization that advocated for the domestication of Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in Kwara State and promoted its passage by 8th Kwara State House of Assembly (KWHA), has reacted to the verdict of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq on the FOI Bill passed by the 8th KWHA and transmitted to him on 20th June 2019 for Assent. In a statement released on 23rd July, 2019 by its Coordinator, Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef, ENetSuD said it was happy to note Governor Abdulrahman’s conviction that the proposed FOI Law will strengthen transparency and accountability in Kwara state even though he proposed minor amendments to sections 4, 5(1), 6 and 10 in good faith prior to his assent to make the bill become Law in the state.


Section 4 states that “Where information is applied for under this Law, the public institution to which the application is made shall, subject to sections 6, 7, and 8 of this Law, within 7 days after the application is received –
(a) Make the information available to the applicant

(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 Law under which the denial is made”

Section 5(1) states that “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 the Court”

Section 6 states that “the public institution may extend the time limit set out in the section 5 or section 6 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 this section, which notice shall contain a statement that the applicant has a right to have the decision to extend the limit reviewed by the Court”

Section 10 states that “it is a criminal offence punishable on conviction by the court with imprisonment which may extend to 2 years or a fine of N100,000 for any officer or head of any government or public institution to which this Law applies to willfully destroy any record kept in his custody, attempt to doctor or otherwise alter the same before they are released to any person, entity or community applying for it”


In the letter written to KWHA by His Excellency Abdulrahman Abdulzaq (the Executive Governor of Kwara State) and read at the plenary on 23rd July, 2019 by the Speaker of KWHA, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi, the Governor said “The Rt. Honorable Speaker and members of the Assembly will recollect that the 8th Assembly passed the Freedom of Information Bill for Governor’s Assent in June, 2019”.

“After a thorough consideration of the Bill as passed by the 8th Assembly, I am convinced that the Bill, if assented to, will no doubt strengthen transparency, accountability and promote a culture of maintenance of proper and up-to-date records of official acts and government transactions. It will indeed serve as an instrument of good governance”.

I am however of the firm belief that some clauses of the Bill need to be amended before it becomes Law. The proposed amendments are to make the implementation of the Law reasonably practicable for the bureaucracy and deter violation or infractions if it becomes Law”.

Premised on the aforesaid, I propose amendments to sections 4, 5(1), 6 and 10 of the Bill. Seven (7) days prescribed in sections 4, 5(1) and 6 of the Bill should each be replaced with fourteen (14) days while punishment of a term of two years’ imprisonment or a fine of one hundred thousand naira (₦100,000) only stipulated in section 10 of the Bill be replaced with punishment of a prison term of Two years and five hundred thousand naira (₦500,000) fine”.


As the sponsor and promoter of the Bill in Kwara State, ENetSuD is pleased with the suggestions of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. The proposal to increase the response time from 7 days to 14 days is a reflection that the Governor understands the reality that will arise from Public Service bureaucratic processes, and the proposed 14 days will truly give reasonable timeline for actions of Kwara State Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). ENetSuD experiences with Federal Government MDAs have consistently shown that MDAs hardly fulfill the 7 days deadline enshrined in the FOI Act 2011, but serious ones among them do comply within 14 days. Thus, ENetSuD fully supports Governor Abdulrahman’s proposal of 14 days in sections 4, 5(1) and 6.

ENetSuD also commends Governor Abdulrahman’s proposal to make the punishment for offender under this Law stiffer than Federal Government FOI Act 2011. The Governor’s proposal to make the punishment both 2-year jail term and ₦500,000 fine instead of an option of 2-year jail term or ₦100,000 earlier contained in the bill is a reflection of the fact that he does not want to encourage any public institution in Kwara State to violate this Law and also wants to make offenders of this Law face a stiffer punishment.

ENetSuD added that the actions of Governor Abdulrahman on the Bill has truly justified his inauguration promise to promote transparency, accountability and open governance in Kwara State.

ENetSuD therefore urges the 9th Assembly ably led by Rt. Hon. Yakubu Danladi to speedily amend the concerned clauses in the bill as proposed by the Governor and transmit it to him for his precious assent so as to immediately give Transparency, Accountability and Open Governance a legal backing in Kwara State.


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