Challenges in the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria
This study examined the Challenges in the Implementation of Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria. The research therefore focused on two States in the South-South Region of Nigeria to examine the issues and evaluate the implementation of Freedom of Information Act of 2011. The research objectives include: to ascertain the awareness level of public agencies and institutions on the implementation of FoIA; to determine the constraints in accessing information in agencies and institutions of government resulting in poor implementation; to find out the extent agencies and institutions of government sustain the old order of secrecy in the management of information; and to find out alternative ways the provisions of the Act could be better implemented for easy access to information. The research work adopted the survey method to deeply explicate the issues and questionnaire was used as the research instrument with sample size of 362 out of 6,094 of the population generated from the Australian Calculator. The study found out that a good number of respondents were aware of FoIA but have not or their institutions have not complied with the required implementation of the Act; and that secrecy, bureaucracy, poor record keeping, inadequate knowledge of the provisions of the Act, corruption, and lack of enforcement are some of the inhibiting factors to the implementation of FoIA. It was also found that there is poor public attitude towards openness, transparency and accountability due to narrow mindsets in doing government business under confidentiality. Based on the findings, the study recommended mass enlightenment for public knowledge and understanding of FoIA beyond mere awareness, good record keeping and adoption of modern information management system.
Keywords: Freedom of Information, FOIA, Nigeria, Secrecy, Mass enlightenment
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