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Fashola’s ministry violates FOI law, fails to release contract details of Anambra projects

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The Federal Ministry of Works and Housing under the leadership of Babatunde Fashola (SAN) has violated the Freedom of Information (FOI) law by refusing to release details of some of its contracts in Anambra State.

The ICIR, on October 08, 2021, through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), requested the details of contractors handling road projects in Anambra State and specifically asked for the record(s) of contract agreements and specification details of the project.

Information demanded by The ICIR included: full details of the contracts, the total amount released for each project, the duration and completion dates of the project.


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After the expiration of seven days, the ministry is yet to respond to the request and has also failed to give reasons for the refusal, as stipulated by the FOI Act.

The ministry violated Section 1(1), 2(4), 4 and 5 of the Freedom of Information Act.

Section 1(1) states that “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 established.”

Section 2(4) states that “public institution shall ensure that information referred to in this section is widely disseminated and made readily available to members of the public through various means, including print, electronic and online sources, and at the offices of such public institutions.”

Sections 4 and 5 of the FOIA mandates all public institutions to grant or give reasons for denying a request within seven days.

Section 4 states: Where information is applied for under this Act the public institution to which the application is made shall, subject to sections 6, 7, and 8 of this Act, 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 Act under which the denial is made”

And Section 5 states: “(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 the Court.

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“(2) Where an application is transferred under subsection (l), the application shall be deemed to have been made to the public institution to which it was transferred on the day the public institution received it.

“(3) For the purpose of subsection (l), a public institution has ‘a greater interest’ in information if – (a) the information was originally produced in or for the institution; or (b) in the case of information not originally produced in or for the public institution, the institution was the first public institution to receive the information.

In the recently launched 2021 FOIA compliance ranking, the ministry ranked 129th, coming last among other agencies in that class. The compliance ranking sheet for previous years confirms that the Ministry of Works and Housing is a serial defaulter of the FOI law.

In 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016, the ministry also came last in the rankings.

The FOI Act signed into law in 2011 provides that public institutions are to make public records and information more freely available and to provide for public access to public records and information.

Head of Data Unit, International Centre For Investigative Reporting, ICIR.
Shoot me a mail at [email protected]

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