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Kaduna State, Nigeria

Implement Right to Information (KAD0004)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Kaduna State Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Justice/Nigeria Union of Journalist

Support Institution(s): Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice (Co-Chair TWG)/ Nigeria Union of Journalist (Co-Chair TWO) ummaliikirina@gmail.com — 0803702'1491/ yusufnal©yahoo.com - 08035610827 Musa Kakaki (rnhkakaki@yahoo.com, 08023738199 Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; Media Office, State House of Assembly, Ministry of Government Finance, Ministry of Education, Science & Technology and Planning and Budget Commission Secretary to State Government, Head of Service, Directorate of Information, etc. CS0s, State Chairman - NUJ, Nigeria Bar Association, The Kukah Center, Gender Working Group, I Care Women Private sector, & Children, Knowledge for the Blind etc.

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Legislation & Regulation, Open Parliaments, Right to Information, Subnational

IRM Review

IRM Report: Kaduna State, Nigeria Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Commitment 4: Develop guidelines and establish effective implementation procedures for the actualisation of the public's right to access information held by government.
Start and end date: Lead KA DA/CSO: Responsible persons:
September 20'18 - August 2020 Ministry of Justice/Nigeria Union of Journalist Umma A. Hikima Adamu Yusuf
Designation: Email and Phone:
Other Actors involve in implementation:
Honourable Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice (Co-Chair TWG)/ Nigeria Union of Journalist (Co-Chair TWO) ummaliikirina@gmail.com — 0803702'1491/ yusufnal©yahoo.com - 08035610827 Musa Kakaki (rnhkakaki@yahoo.com, 08023738199
Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice; Media Office, State House of Assembly, Ministry of Government Finance, Ministry of Education, Science & Technology and Planning and Budget Commission Secretary to State Government, Head of Service, Directorate of Information, etc.
CS0s, State Chairman - NUJ, Nigeria Bar Association, The Kukah Center, Gender Working Group, I Care Women Private sector, & Children, Knowledge for the Blind etc.
General problem/challenge
addressed by the commitment:
No legal or regulatory frarrework to drive the Access to information process. IL No administrative structures to deliver on the access to information commitment.
Main Objective:
To provide legal, regulatory or legislative backing to establish the right of the public to access information held by government in Kaduna State. In addition, to develop adequate administrative structures to enhance the effective implementation of the access to information commitment.
Brief description of commitment:
Specific OP challenge addressed by commitment:
This commitment seeks to promote and establish the legal right of the public to request and receive information about the activities and functions of the Government and establish the processes that marks the pathway to the utilisation of that right by members of the public.
iv.
Government's integrity, Increased transparency Public confidence in governance, and Public participation in governance.
Rationale for commitment: A firm legal and regulatory framework together with a robust implementation plan will enable the public to access information held by government and will promote public confidence in government.
Expected Outcome/impact:
Performance Indicators:
Legally secure public's right to information, through an established legal framework, ii. Secure institutions' commitment to creating and maintaining information for easy access by the public. iii. The establishment of relevant administrative structures to give effect to the right of access to information. iv. Develop and adopt state policy on access to Information. v. Continuous availability of regulation on access to information to the public. vi. A law protecting the right of citizen and officers of government to share information.
1, FOI Bill sent to the House of Assembly by the executive for passage by end of 2019. FOI Bill passed by the SHoA before the end of 2020 iii. FOI Law comes into being in the state before the end Of 2020. Institute a policy regulating public right to information in the state by 2020. v. Established relevant administrative structures within government establishments for access to information by 2020. vi, Whistle blower law becomes effective in the state before the end of 2020.
Specific Activities/Milestones Start Date End date oo Bill on Freedom of Information to be reviewed and updated by co-creation technical team and presented to Kaduna State House of Assembly during public hearing on the Bill. Sept. 2018 May 2019 2 Undertake advocacy visit to the State House of Assembly on the need to expedite action on the Sept. 2018 Dec. 2018
3 Bill Passed into Law and assented by the Governor May 2019 Dec. 2019 4 Conduct at least one advocacy and sensitization to the public and officers of the state on the regulations and implementation of the FO, Law May 2019 Dec. 2019
5 Identify and train relevant officers in MDAs and Local Government Areas to build their capacity on the Fol law. Jan 2020 May 2020
Source of Funding: Government funding, Development Partners, Private Sector and NGOs

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 4: Access to Information

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan [38]

“This commitment seeks to promote and establish the legal right of the public to request and receive information about the activities and functions of the Government and establish the processes that marks the pathway to the utilisation of that right by members of the public.”

Milestones:

  1. Bill on Freedom of Information to be reviewed and updated by co-creation technical team and presented to Kaduna State House of Assembly during public hearing on the Bill.
  2. Undertake advocacy visit to the State House of Assembly on the need to expedite action on the FOI Bill.
  3. Bill Passed into Law and assented by the Governor
  4. Conduct at least one advocacy and sensitization to the public and officers of state on the regulations and implementation of the FOI Law
  5. Identify the relevant officers in MDAs and Local Government Areas to build their capacity on the FOI law.

Lead Institutions: Ministry of Justice, Nigeria Union of Journalist

Start Date: Sep 2018

End Date: Aug 2020

Context and Objectives

This commitment seeks to promote and establish the legal right of the public to request and receive information about the activities and functions of government. It will also develop adequate administrative structures for effective implementation of the Bill on Freedom of Information.

While the Nigerian Constitution guarantees freedom of information, most public officials and state institutions determine when and at what time to provide information. [39] Senior government officials in Kaduna State, as in most states in Nigeria, are obliged upon appointment to be guided by “various oaths of secrecy under which they undertake not to disclose any information which comes to them in the course of the performance of their duties.” [40] Resultantly, a culture of secrecy exists among civil servants and public officials. [41] The dearth of publicly available government-held information, in combination with the limited capacity for citizens to engage in the political process, has resulted in minimal avenues for citizens to demand improvement in service delivery in Kaduna State.

At present, the state does not have a legal framework that mandates the disclosure of information held by publicly funded institutions. [42] The Government of Nigeria passed a federal Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill in 2011. However, the Court of Appeal ruled that the FOI law applies only to federal institutions. In 2017, Kaduna State executives drafted a FOI bill. The bill was sent to the State House of Assembly but has not yet been passed into law. [43] If passed, this bill would provide a legal framework to mandate disclosure of information within a set period of time. [44] Even if the bill is passed into law, no administrative structures exist to facilitate the disclosure of government-held information to citizens. There are no online or offline freedom of information request forms and personnel to coordinate responses to these requests. [45] Alhaji Adamu Yusuf, chairman of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, indicated that citizens have advocated for information desk officers in all ministries, departments, and agencies to meet information requests. They have also advocated for training on information technology and management. [46]

This commitment acknowledges that the freedom of information law does not guarantee access to government-held information by the public. The state government has a website, https://kdsg.gov.ng/, where some information—such as laws, budgets, and contracts awarded—is available to the public. However, the government does not respond to individual requests for other information held by the government in a timely manner. [47] Currently, no mechanisms exist for the public to seek redress, and none exist to sanction government officials who refuse to provide requested information. [48] In addition, civil society and citizens have limited capacity to submit requests. [49]

This commitment is considered to have a potential moderate impact on open government in Kaduna State. The passage of the Bill on Freedom of Information would be a significant achievement toward increased access to information. The commitment also recognises the need to educate public officials on the importance and process of responding to public information requests. However, this commitment does not establish administrative structures to implement the law. Additionally, it calls for limited outreach to the public on their right to information and navigating the request process. Therefore, this commitment marks a vital but initial step toward increased citizen access to information.

Next Steps

The IRM researcher recommends making this commitment an integral part of the next action plan. When the bill is passed into law, the IRM researcher suggests that the next action plan lay more emphasis on the following:

  • Building the capacity of civil society, the media, and the public: The commitment’s aim should be to emphasise the need for and the benefits of the freedom of information (FOI) law as well as citizens’ rights and responsibilities under the law. It should also commit to building the capacity of citizens to use the law to demand the improvement of service delivery.
  • Running public awareness campaigns on the FOI law: One way to reach people is through awareness-raising activities, for example, posters, flyers, radio and television announcements, drama programmes, blogs, websites, Facebook, Twitter and mobile phone apps.
  • Producing a simplified or abridged version of the FOI law: A simplified version would enable citizens to understand the provisions of the law and increase the use of the law. The publication should be written in several local languages to make it easy for people to understand the provisions in the FOI law. The document should be publicised using both online and offline channels.
  • Identifying a sanction or sanctions to ensure compliance with the FOI law: Adding sanctions to the commitment can strengthen its alignment with the public accountability OGP value.
  • Establishing administrative structures to deliver on the FOI law: Such structures could include a dedicated FOI Act Unit staffed with trained officers and governed by associated procedures. This commitment would benefit from alignment with the Government of Nigeria’s commitment and milestones related to FOI.
[38] The direct quotes from the commitment text reproduced here and all subsequent commitments cover the general description of the commitment and its milestones but, due to space constraints, do not include other sections. The unabridged English version of the first national action plan is available at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/kaduna-state-national-action-plan-2018-2020/
[39] Didam Laah (Invicta FP Radio), interview by IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.
[40] Preye Kuro Inokoba, “Freedom of Information Act and Democratic Consolidation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges,” International Journal of Development and Sustainability 3, no. 12 (2014): 2268, http://www.isdsnet.com/ijds-v3n12-7.pdf.
[41] Madubuike-Ekwe and Mbadugha, “Obstacles to the Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 in Nigeria,” https://www.ajol.info/index.php/naujilj/article/download/168833/158299.
[42] Alhaji Adamu Yusuf (Nigerian Union of Journalists), interview by the IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.
[43] Musa Kakaki (Ministry of Justice), interview by the IRM researcher, 5 April 2019, information updated during the prepublication review period through communication with IRM staff on 13 October 2020.
[44] Email from Alhaji Adamu Yusuf (Nigerian Union of Journalists), interview by the IRM researcher, 16 October 2019.
[45] Alhaji Adamu Yusuf (Nigerian Union of Journalists), interview by the IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.
[46] Email from Alhaji Adamu Yusuf (Nigerian Union of Journalists), 16 October 2019.
[47] Didam Laah (Invicta FP Radio), interview by the IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.
[48] Musa Kakaki (Ministry of Justice), interview by the IRM researcher, 5 April 2019.
[49] Email from Alhaji Adamu Yusuf (Nigerian Union of Journalists), interview by the IRM researcher, 16 October 2019.

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