Youthhub Africa is considering legal options to enforce the provisions of Nigeria’s Freedom of Information law against the Ministry of Youth Development and compel it to provide details of its budget for from 2011 to 2013 as well as locations of all established youth centres across Nigeria.
Already, the group said it had written the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the National Human Rights Commission on this violation of rights being perpetrated by the Ministry of Youth Development.
The group, a Nigerian based Pan-African web portal with interest in the democratising access to information for young people especially policies as it affects them, said it’s decision to consider legal options followed the ministry’s refusal to provide the data in spite of two formal requests.
A statement by Rotimi Olawale, Youthhub Africa’s Head of Programmes, said two requests based on the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 were sent to the Ministry of Youth Development twice this year without any response.
The FOI Act in Section 1, Sub Section 1 of the Act states: “Notwithstanding anything contained in any other Act, law or regulation, the right of any person to access or request information, whether or not contained in any written form, which is in custody or possession of any public official, agency or institution howsoever described, is established.”
In addition to the details of the ministry’s budget from 2011 to 2013, and the locations of established youth centres, the group had also requested for budget performance report for the period same period as well as details of youth centres under construction.
“Youthhub Africa with support from the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) would be seeking a legal redress to this injustice as one would love to assume that when President Goodluck Jonathan signed the bill into law in 2011 it was with the intention of making governance transparent and readily accessible by all. The attitude from the Ministry of Youth Development however shows otherwise,” the statement made available to www.thepost-ng.com read in part.
The group said its Editorial Board That, sent the first letter to the ministry on 11th February 2014 while the second letter was sent on 14th March 2014.
“None of the letters was replied by the Ministry despite being a Federal institution and with provisions by the FOI Act mandating that responses should be made available between seven days of receipt of correspondence,” the statement from the group said.
It said Youthhub Africa is taken aback by the attitude of a Ministry that should be at the fore of proactively making information available for the demography it serves even before making such demands.