The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) rejected the request to make public the content of Muhamadu Buhari’s and Yemi Osinbajo’s assets declarations.
Recall that both APC politicians vowed to publicly declare their assets if elected. After the forms were submitted to the Bureau, Nigerians were wondering why the details had not been provided openly and urged Buhari to fulfill his promise. His office said the declarations content would be made available after the CCB authenticated claims in the declaration forms.
The group identified as Stop Impunity Nigeria on June 1 requested the copies of both politicians’ forms.
However, in its June 10 response, the Bureau stated that the move was not possible due to limitations in federal laws covering such release, Premium Times reports with reference to the reply signed on behalf of the CCB chairman. The explanation goes that there is no prescribed law by the National Assembly authorizing the release of such information to the public.
The Bureau conceded the right by Nigerians under section 1(1) 3 and 4 of the FOIA 2011, to “access or request information, whether written or not in written form, in the custody of any public agency.”
Moreover, according to the same Act, any request considered “invasion of personal privacy” can be declined.
“Assets declarations by public officers contain such personal information, which falls within the exemptions to the disclosure of information in the FOIA.”
The Bureau is authorized to “make assets declarations of public officers available for inspection by any citizen of Nigeria only on terms and conditions prescribed by the National Assembly.”
“However, the terms and conditions under which that can be done have not yet been prescribed by the National Assembly.”
It is worth noting that President Buhari stated clearly in one of his speeches delivered before the election:
“I pledge to publicly declare my assets and liabilities, encourage all my appointees to publicity declare their assets and liabilities as a pre-condition for appointment.”
Thus, this promise is yet to be fulfilled.