The Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) has denied a Freedom of Information request demanding specific details of asset declarations submitted to it by successive presidents and state governors since 1999, arguing that: “producing such information would amount to an invasion of privacy of presidents and state governors.
Asset declaration form is private information.”
CCB’s response followed FOI request by Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) in April addressed to Dr. Muhammed Isah, Chairman, CCB, urging him to: “provide information on asset declarations by successive presidents and state governors between 1999 and 2019, including details of declarations made immediately after taking offices and thereafter, and for those who have left public offices, at the end of their term of office.”
SERAP also sought “information on the number of asset declarations so far verified by the CCB and the number of those declarations found to be false and deemed to be in breach of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers, by the Bureau.”
However, the CCB in a letter by its Chairman, which SERAP said it just received, stated: “Paragraph 3(c) of the 3rd Schedule to the 1999 Nigerian Constitution (as amended) empowers the Bureau to retain custody of asset declaration and make them available for inspection by any citizen on such terms and conditions to be prescribed by the National Assembly. These terms and conditions are yet to be prescribed.”
The CCB also said: “Assuming the Freedom of Information Act is the term and condition, Sections 12(1)(v) and 14(1)(b) of the Act makes information in the asset declaration form private and producing such information would be an invasion of privacy of presidents and governors. Section 14(2)(3) of the same Act stipulate conditions for granting requests for private information but these have not been met by SERAP’s application.”