Skip Navigation
Nigeria

Improve Compliance with Freedom of Information Act with Focus on Records Management (NG0023)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Nigeria Action Plan 2019-2022

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Federal Ministry of Justice

Support Institution(s): Ministry of Science and Technology and National Information for Technology Development Agency, NOA, Ministry of Communication, Code of Conduct Bureau, NTA, FRCN, NAN, VON, Ministry of Education, National Judicial Council, National Assembly, National Assembly Service Commission, Nigerian Bureau of Statistics. Right to Know, Media Rights Agenda, International Press Centre, Freedom of Information Coalition of Nigeria, Nigerian Bar Association, NUJ, Ethics & Corporate Compliance Institute of Nigeria, the Academic, Safe & Sound Youth Awareness Initiative, SERAP, Open Judiciary Initiative, Private Media Organizations, Enough is Enough, PTCIJ, PPDC, Right to Information Cooperators (RtIC), Youths in Africa Anti-Corruption Network, Open Justice Initiative, DATAPHYTE, BudgIT, The Meluibe Empowerment Foundation, Centre for Health Equity and Justice (CEHEJ).

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Capacity Building, E-Government, Records Management, Right to Information

IRM Review

IRM Report: Nigeria Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Public Accountability

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Brief description:
This commitment seeks to improve compliance with the FOIA records management requirements to secure citizens right to access to information.

General problem:
There is a dearth of information available to citizens occasioned by poor records creation, collection, storage, maintenance and management systems and practices in public institutions; inadequate budget/funding to address these challenges, absence of training and retraining of staff on these and other issues, unwillingness on the part of some public institutions to release information to citizens, inadequate awareness on the part of the citizens on FOIA as well as improper archiving or records in public institutions. This has led to failures in their ability to advocate for improved service delivery based on evidence

Specific OGP issue:
-Citizens’ participation in governance
-Opacity in government affairs and activities
-Corruption

Rationale for the commitment:
There is currently low compliance with this provision of the FOIA by public institutions, thus, disempowering citizens and affecting public trust in government.

Main objective:
To ensure that information held by public institutions are created, stored and maintained in a manner that guarantees availability and accessibility to the public to empower the citizens to make informed decisions. This will also provide citizens with a basis for effective contributions to policy formulation or review of extant policies.

Anticipated impact:
Efficient record management system by public institutions.

See action plan for milestone activities

IRM Midterm Status Summary

9. Improve FOIA compliance on management of public records and strengthen public institutions’ record management officers

Main Objective

“To ensure that information held by public institutions are created, stored and maintained in a manner that guarantees availability and accessibility to the public to empower the citizens to make informed decisions. This will also provide citizens with a basis for effective contributions to policy formulation or review of extant policies.”

Milestones

  1. Training of staff of public institutions on records management
  2. Review and update of the current records management policies of public institutions
  3. Adoption of E-policy on Electronic Data Management System (EDMS) approved by the Federal Executive Council.
  4. Advocacy to, and sensitization of public institutions on making budgetary provisions for FOI related issues
  5. Adoption and application of punitive administrative measures against public institutions and officials adjudged to be undermining the effectiveness of the FOI Act or breaching its provisions

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Nigeria’s action plan at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/nigeria-action-plan-2019-2021/

 

Commitment Analysis

This commitment seeks to improve government agencies’ record management process to improve citizens’ access to information. Section 9 of the 2011 Freedom of Information (FOI) Act contains a provision on record keeping and maintenance obligations, requiring public institutions to keep records organized to facilitate timely responses to information requests via electronic and paper formats. This commitment continues efforts under Commitment 10 from Nigeria’s 2017–2019 national action plan. [127] Under the previous action plan, Nigeria’s FOI Unit trained government agencies on FOI provisions. However, Federal Executive Council approval of a memorandum on disciplinary and administrative procedures on the violation of the FOI is still pending. [128]

This commitment includes five milestones. Activities aim to improve records management by training public institutions’ staff on record management adoption; applying punitive administrative measures to public institutions and officials undermining or breaching the FOI Act; and conducting advocacy in public institutions on making budgetary provisions for FOI-related issues. The commitment includes two new activities to update public institutions’ current records management policies and adopt a policy on the Electronic Data Management System (EDMS) that the Federal Executive Council approved.

This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information because it aims to improve the management of records and achieve prompt provision of information by public institutions. [129] The commitment is relevant to the OGP value of public accountability, as it intends to apply punitive measures to institutions or individuals not complying with the FOI Act.

If fully implemented, this commitment could have a moderate potential impact on increasing citizens’ access to information through improved record management. Government, CSOs, and other stakeholders have identified record management as a significant obstacle to compliance with the FOI Act. [130] Delays in retrieving and providing information are caused by issues with infrastructure, manual handling procedures, lack of digital platforms, budget scarcity, and lack of trained personnel. [131] Despite constituting a significant bottleneck, records management initiatives are seldom supported. Under this commitment, record management could be improved by the shift from paper to digital records and capacity building for staff. However, research has found that the central government’s role in budget allocation is a key to developing a sound record management process, [132] and according to the commitment’s text, budget allocation is assigned to agencies. Additionally, the planned sanctions for noncompliance offer an enforcement mechanism as long as they are implemented consistently.

The Bureau of Public Service Reforms and Right 2 Know Nigeria have recommended that government agencies develop monitoring and evaluation systems with an IT component. [133] Donors could support the record management process given that record management is essential to public institutions’ capacity to respond to FOI requests. The IRM also recommends focusing on proactive disclosure and respective budget allocations.

[127] “OGP Nigeria National Action Plan 2017-2019,” Open Government Partnership, in https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/nigeria-national-action-plan-2017-2019/, p. 42.
[128] “Nigeria 2019-2021 National Action Plan,” Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/nigeria-action-plan-2019-2021/, pp.11-12.
[129] “Nigeria 2019-2021 National Action Plan,” Open Government Partnership, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/nigeria-action-plan-2019-2021/, p.51.
[130] African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights,  4 March 2019, in https://www.achpr.org/pressrelease/detail?id=3
[131] “Policy Recommendations for strengthening the Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in the Nigeria Federal Public Service,” Bureau of Public Service Reforms, The Presidency, Government of Nigeria, R2K, McArthur Foundation, December, 2018, in http://r2knigeria.org/index.php/policy-recommendations-for-strengthening-the-implementation-of-the-freedom-of-information-act-in-the-nigeria-federal-public-service, p.24.
[132] “Policy Recommendations for strengthening the Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in the Nigeria Federal Public Service,” Bureau of Public Service Reforms, The Presidency, Government of Nigeria, R2K, McArthur Foundation, December, 2018, in http://r2knigeria.org/index.php/policy-recommendations-for-strengthening-the-implementation-of-the-freedom-of-information-act-in-the-nigeria-federal-public-service, P.47,48.
[133] “Policy Recommendations for strengthening the Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in the Nigeria Federal Public Service,” Bureau of Public Service Reforms, The Presidency, Government of Nigeria, R2K, McArthur Foundation, December, 2018, in http://r2knigeria.org/index.php/policy-recommendations-for-strengthening-the-implementation-of-the-freedom-of-information-act-in-the-nigeria-federal-public-service,

Commitments

  1. Participatory Budgeting

    NG0015, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  2. Implement Open Contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard

    NG0016, 2019, Access to Information

  3. Transparent Tax Revenue Reporting

    NG0017, 2019, Access to Information

  4. Open Contracting and Licensing in Extractives

    NG0018, 2019, Access to Information

  5. Implement EITI Standard

    NG0019, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  6. Establish Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NG0020, 2019, Access to Information

  7. Strengthen Asset Recovery Legislation

    NG0021, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  8. Implement National Anti-Corruption Strategy

    NG0022, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  9. Improve Compliance with Freedom of Information Act with Focus on Records Management

    NG0023, 2019, Access to Information

  10. Improved Compliance with Mandatory Publication Provisions Requirement (FOIA)

    NG0024, 2019, Access to Information

  11. Implement Permanent Dialogue Mechanism

    NG0025, 2019, Access to Justice

  12. Aggregate Citizens' Feedback on Programs

    NG0026, 2019, E-Government

  13. Freedom of Association, Assembly, and Expression

    NG0027, 2019, Civic Space

  14. Enhance Participation of the Vulnerable

    NG0028, 2019, Capacity Building

  15. Implement New Computer Program in 6 Government Ministries to Improve Service Delivery

    NG0029, 2019, Capacity Building

  16. Legal Instrument to Strengthen SERVICOM

    NG0030, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Citizen Participation in Budget Cycle

    NG0001, 2017, Access to Information

  18. Open Contracting

    NG0002, 2017, Access to Information

  19. Extractive Sector Transparency

    NG0003, 2017, Access to Information

  20. Tax Reporting Standards

    NG0004, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  21. World Bank Doing Business Index

    NG0005, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  22. Beneficial Ownership Register

    NG0006, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  23. Anti-Corruption Informationi Sharing

    NG0007, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  24. Asset Recovery Legislation

    NG0008, 2017, Capacity Building

  25. Anti-Corruption Activity Coordination

    NG0009, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  26. FOIA Compliance for Annual Reporting

    NG0010, 2017, Access to Information

  27. FOIA Compliance for Disclosure

    NG0011, 2017, Access to Information

  28. Permanent Dialogue Mechanism

    NG0012, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  29. Joint Governmnet-Civil Society Legislation Review

    NG0013, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  30. Technology-Based Citizens' Feedback

    NG0014, 2017, E-Government

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!