President Buhari and his vice Prof. Yemi Osibanjo, during its campaign for presidency had promised to declare its assets and make it known to the public. However, the Code of Conduct Bureau has said it would not make public the assets declared by the President and his Vice due to limitations in federal laws covering such release, the office has said.
A civil society group, Stop Impunity Nigeria, an affiliate of the Centre for Social Justice, had on June 1, 2015 applied to the CCB to request copies of the completed assets declaration forms by the President and his deputy.
The application, signed by the Lead Director of the Centre, Eze Onyekpere, was pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2011.
In its response CCB/HQ/670/G/1/104 dated June 10, 2015 and signed Ijeanuli Ofor on behalf of the Chairman, the CCB declined the request, citing the absence of prescribed law by the National Assembly authorizing the release of such information to the public.
The Bureau conceded the right by Nigerians under section 1(1) 3 and 4 of the FOIA 2011, to “access or request information, whether written or not in written form, in the custody of any public agency”.
Regardless, the Bureau said sections 12(1) (a) (v), 14(1) (b) and 15(1)9a) of the same Act empowered it decline any request, which it considered an “invasion of personal privacy”.
“Assets declarations by public officers contain such personal information, which falls within the exemptions to the disclosure of information in the FOIA,” the Bureau said.
“However, the terms and conditions under which that can be done have not yet been prescribed by the National Assembly,” the Bureau said, adding that the group’s request was rejected in view of the absence of the prescribed “terms and conditions”.