Nigeria gets its first freedom of information law

AP News
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Posted: May 31, 2011 1:02 PM
Nigeria gets its first freedom of information law

The Nigerian president's office says he has approved a law that gives citizens of Africa's most populous nation access to public records for the first time.

The Presidency said in a statement Monday that Goodluck Jonathan signed the Freedom of Information bill into law Saturday.

The new law gives government bodies seven days to produce requested information. It also makes it a criminal offense to destroy records.

The National Assembly passed the bill on May 24 and civil groups raised fears that it could lose its validity if not signed before the start of the president's new term Sunday.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to sign the bill into law in 2007.

Amnesty International said Wednesday that the Nigerian government could "not repeat history and allow this opportunity to pass."