An Overview of the Law and Practice of the Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria: Lessons From UK and Ghana


The Freedom of Information Act, 2011(FOIA) is over 12years old in Nigeria. The enactment of the law attracted so much interest, particularly from members of the Non-Governmental organizations and civil societies. It would appear that the Act suffers from some legislative gap capable of resulting in abuse by mischievous applicants. The FOIA in breach of the provisions of the CFRN declared itself superior to every other law. Another challenge in the FOIA giving rise to abuse is the unbridled right vested in an applicant to ask for information and public records without indicating his reason or interest in the information sought. The FOIA imposed impracticable and unrealistic timelines on public officials without considering the usual administrative procedures/bottlenecks in most government offices. Furthermore, this paper found that there is a lack of clarity on the provisions of the FOIA dealing with privacy right. The FOIA, though intended to be a public interest legislation expropriates so many other subject matter from disclosure to the applicants. The paper thus recommends the balancing of public, private, security and government interest for effective enforceability. It is further recommendation that the need to harmonize the provisions of the FOIA with other related extant legislations, including the recently enacted Nigeria Data Protection Act 2023 cannot be overemphasized.