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UNDERSTANDING FREEDOM OF INFORMATION Act 2011

Presented by
PRESIDENT AIGBOKHAN, Esq 
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
Freedom of Information Counsel
2nd Floor, Edo State Library Complex,
Sapele Road, Benin City, Edo State
www.foicounsel.net
info@foicounsel.net
08032683434

What is Freedom of Information?

Freedom of Information is the right of anyone in a society to access information or record held by government officials, institutions and some private businesses.

Limitations to Freedom of Information

The right to information recognizes some limitations & the fact that some information still needs to be kept secret.

Examples of these types of information are:

(i) national security information

(ii) personal information

(iii) commercial information

Nevertheless, there is a duty on the government to justify any refusal to disclose any information to the public.

Why is the information necessary

(1) It is central to human existence

(2) It is a major tool for fighting and exposing corruption & wrongdoing.

(3) It is critical for decision-making whether as individuals or as organizations.

(4) It promotes citizens participation in governance

(5) It will help improve record-keeping in public institutions as it will ensure that government records are properly kept.

(6) It facilitates democratic participation as it enables citizens to participate effectively in decision-making on issues that affect them

(7) It promotes respect for human rights because human rights violations, like corruption, flourish in a climate of secrecy.

(8) it facilitates access to reports of investigations into allegations of human rights violations.

(9) It ensures that government institutions work better & more efficiently.

(10) It builds trust & confidence in government policies & decisions as citizens get up-to-date information about the affairs of government & know what is going on.

In all, we cannot do without information as we have to make decisions every day of our lives and participate in the governance process!

Information and participation

FOIA enhances participation in democracy. This is because it enables the public to have facilities upon which they can scrutinize the actions & decisions of leaders & assess their performance.

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