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Nigeria enacts law protecting access to information



Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has signed into law a bill specifying punishment for denial of free access to information or destruction of public documents, his office said Tuesday.

The bill, which has generated heated controversy in the past five years, spells out a minimum of one year in prison for anyone who wilfully WILFULLY, intentionally.
     2. In charging certain offences it is required that they should be stated to be wilfully done. Arch. Cr. Pl. 51, 58; Leach's Cr. L. 556.
     3.
 destroys public documents.

"Where a case of wrongful denial of access is established, the defaulting officer or institution commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of 500,000 naira ($3,200; 2,225 euros)," it adds.

Matters relating to relating to relate prepconcernant

relating to relate prepbezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc 
 defence and international affairs Noun 1. international affairs - affairs between nations; "you can't really keep up with world affairs by watching television"
world affairs

affairs - transactions of professional or public interest; "news of current affairs"; "great affairs of state"
 are exempt.

Sensitive documents have for decades mysteriously disappeared in Nigeria, notably those related to investigations into graft and indiscipline.

Jonathan signed the bill, championed in parliament by two former journalists, on Saturday. He was inaugurated for his first full four-year term as president the following day.

"The (Freedom of Information) Act aims to make public records and information more freely available and to protect public records and information," his office said in a statement.

The law says a government agency that refuses access to a record or information has to inform the applicant of its reasons. The applicant has the right to challenge the decision in court.

It also seeks to protect public officers from any adverse consequences of disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorisation, the statement said.

"A public institution may deny an application for any information the disclosure of which may be injurious in·ju·ri·ous  
adj.
1. Causing or tending to cause injury; harmful: eating habits that are injurious to one's health.

2.
 to the conduct of international affairs and the defence of the federal republic of Nigeria," it states.
Copyright 2011 AFP Global Edition
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Author:Staff Reporter
Publication:AFP Global Edition
Date:May 31, 2011
Words:262
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