THE Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, has said the asset details of the presidency would not be released despite requests filed for the provision based on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Mohammed Isah, the Chairman of the Bureau who spoke at a News Agency of Nigeria Forum in Abuja stated that the National Assembly had not set the guidelines for CCB to release asset details of public officers.
Isah noted that Paragraph 3, the third schedule of Nigeria’s constitution placed CCB under the terms and conditions prescribed by the National Assembly on the issue of public requests for assets declared by a public office holder.
“So, if anybody as a private person or private organisation wants to access asset declaration or information contained in asset declaration of any public officer, those conditions laid down by FOI Act must be fulfilled,” he said.
The FOI Act states that a public institution shall ensure that public information “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.”
However, Isah admitted that the Bureau had not done enough in fighting corrupt public officials.
“The bureau was neglected because of its non-performance, and we are not here to fail. We are here to achieve and make the bureau better than we met it. So, in the next few days, the turnout in terms of the success of our cases in court will be very impressive,’’ he said.
The public officers in Nigeria are the President, vice-president, all members and staff of the national and state legislative houses, governors and deputy governors, all judicial officers and staff of courts of law, all state and federal political appointees, ambassadors, high commissioners and other officers of Nigeria missions abroad.
Others are Director Generals and chairmen of all parastatals and agencies of federal and state governments, military, police, immigration, customs, prisons, political office holders and all federal, state and local government civil servants.
The constitution mandated these Public Officers to declare their assets or liability including that of his spouse(s) who is not a Public Officer and children under 18 years age, honestly, sincerely and to the CCB.
Though CCB chairman mentioned that National Assembly has not included in the Bureau’s guideline to release asset details of public officers at the News Forum, he did not state why the Bureau was yet to ask the National Assembly to prescribe the condition.
The CCB press statement came less than 24 hours when Femi Adesina, Buhari Spokesperson said that public declaration of assets was not in Nigeria’s law. He said President Buhari would not reveal his asset as requested by the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) on January 3.
SERAP filed a Freedom of Information requesting from the presidency and governors to declare the summary of their assets submitted to the CCB since their assumption of office.
The ICIR in March 2019 also filed an FOI demanding details of the assets belonging to the president and his cabinet members.