Nigeria: New law shows power of civil society

AP News
Posted: Jun 01, 2011 1:11 PM
Nigeria: New law shows power of civil society

Rights groups say a new law that gives Nigerians access to public records for the first time shows the power of civil society in Africa's most populous nation.

A coalition of Nigerian groups said in a statement Wednesday that the Freedom of Information law approved by President Goodluck Jonathan Saturday will make government more transparent and accountable.

Maxwell Kadiri, an officer of the rights group Open Society Justice Initiative, said "it will no longer be business as usual."

The new law protects civil servants who report wrongdoing by their institutions. It also makes it a criminal offense to destroy public records.

Groups have pushed for the freedom of information bill to become law since Nigeria became a democracy in 1999. A series of military governments ruled the country for about 27 years.