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What is FOIA?

FOIA is an Act that gives one the right to access information from Government Agencies, Parastatals, Federal Civil Service, Private and Public sectors etc.


What is an application?

An application refers to any request for information made under the Act.


Who is an applicant?

An Applicant refers to any person who applies for or requests for information or a record under the FOIA.


What is the time limit for granting or refusing application?

Section 4 of the Freedom of Information Act provides that where information is applied for a public institution to which the application is made shall within 7 (seven) days after the application is received make the information available to the applicant.


Where access to information is refused what can be done?

Section 7(1) where the government or public institution refuses to give access to a record or information applied for under this Act, or a part thereof, the institution shall state in the notice given to the applicant grounds for the refusal, the specific provision of this Act that it relates to and that the applicant has a right to challenge the decision refusing access and have it reviewed by a court.


Can an applicant be denied access to information under the Act?

An applicant’ access to information can denied under the Exemptions provided under sections 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 19


What are the exceptions?

Section 11: Exemption of International Affairs and Defence;
Section 12: Exemption of Law enforcement and Investigation;
Section 14: Exemption of Personal Information;
Section 15: Exemption of Third Party Information;
Section 16: Exemption of Professional or other privileges conferred by Law;
Section 17: Exemption of Course or Research Material; and
Section 19: denial by a Public Institution to Disclose Records


Are there Records and information not covered by the FOI Act?

Section 26 provides for records and information that the Act does not apply, which includes:
(a) Publish material or material available for purchase by the public;
(b) Library or museum material made or acquired and preserved solely for public reference or exhibition purposes; or
(c) Material placed in the National Library, National Archives of the Federal Republic of Nigeria behalf of any person or organization other than a government or public institution.


What is personal information?

It means any official information held about an identifiable person but does not include information that bears on the public duties of public employees and officials.


Who can make a request under the FOIA?

Any person, group, association, organization etc can make request. It is easy to make. The request must be in writing reasonably describing the information sought for, and complying with specific institutional requirements.


How do I make a FOI request?

To get information under the FOIA, typically one must make a request. This could either be written or oral describing the information sought for, and the format you want it in, in as much detail as possible.


Will I be charged any fee for making FOIA requests?

Yes, a fee will be charged to recover the costs of document search, duplication and, in commercial cases, review.