The 25th day of August 2021 marks a watershed in the history of access to public records as the Republic of Gambia President Adama Barrow signed Access to Information (ATI) Bill 2021 to law. The Bill was presented to the National Assembly in December 2019 by Hon. Dawda Jallow and same was passed on 1st July 2021 and signed into law on 25th August 2021
Gambia makes it the 24th country in Africa to have passed a law that promotes access to public record. While we admonish the government to compliment the legislation with proactive disclosure, the law might suffer from a major setback where MDAs have poor compliance record. From experience of other jurisdictions, government create structure and systems for minimal resistance of compliance and the CSOs and citizens must take up the key to open up governance space. The law was designed to simplify public access to doors of governance and the people of Gambia must give the law a drive by pressuring review through demand.
As a leading litigation advocacy group on FOI in Nigeria, litigation is the pill of FOI applications. But, practice has shown that litigation is the snacks of FOI usage. We sincerely wish the Gambia a memorable experience.
FOI COUNSEL is a national FOI advocacy, research and litigation body in Nigeria and it has promoted the right to expression and information on all frontiers therein