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MFWA Decries President Obasanjo’s Refusal to Sign FOI Bill into Law


The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has described President Olusegun Obasanjo’s refusal to sign the Freedom of Information Bill into Law as a major setback for the West African region in the struggle to ensure popular participation in democratic processes. It therefore called on the legislators to demonstrate courage by invoking their powers under the Nigerian Constitution to countermand the President’s vetoing of the Bill.


MFWA, in a statement by its executive director, Prof. Kwame Karikari, expressed its disappointment at president Obasanjo’s action adding that Governments and civil society organizations in West Africa, particularly in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Liberia had already initiated similar processes to grant their citizens access to public records and documents, and that they had looked to Nigeria for leadership on this issue. 


It said it was “regrettable that President Obasanjo lost this great opportunity to provide leadership for the rest of the region,” adding that in so doing, the President betrayed his lack of commitment to transparency and accountability in public service and has once again called into question the sincerity of his much touted war against corruption.


The statement observed that President Obasanjo’s action has also resulted in Nigeria’s failure to meet the regional and international obligations on this issue which to adopt a legal instrument to give its citizens access to public records and documents under Article 4 of the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa; Article 9 of the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption; Article 19 of the UN’s International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the Commonwealth Freedom of Information Principles;  the UN’s Principles on Freedom of Information; and Articles 10 and 13 of the UN Convention Against Corruption.


The organization urged the National Assembly to override President Obasanjo’s veto and put Nigeria on the path of compliance with its international obligations, freely entered into, and enhance the capacity of Nigerian citizens to participate in governance


The MFWA expressed its solidarity with ordinary Nigerians and civil society organizations in the country that have clamoured for this Law over the last eight years, adding: “We are confident that their struggles will be rewarded and that the Bill will become Law in the near future.”


The organization also commended members of Nigeria’s National Assembly for their courageous work on the Freedom of Information Bill so far, assuring them that Africa’s civil society and the international community recognized their valiant efforts to entrench democracy in Nigeria and uplift the lives of their citizens.




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