N150 billion A Year! Nigerian National Assembly To Be Sued To Disclose Budget

The National Assembly of Nigeria is being threatened with a lawsuit for its refusal to disclose a budget to the public, an action prohibited by the Freedom of Information Act.

The two organizations at the helm of this lawsuit are BudgIT and the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC). They said that they made a request for the National Assembly budget between 2011 and 2014. They also stated that they requested annual performance reports for 2011, 2012, and 2013.

The National Assembly has had a yearly budget of N150 billion since 2011. Since 1999, the National Assembly has been provided with N1.26 trillion, a sum which is used in ways unknown to the Nigerian public.

The National Assembly refused the requests on the basis of it containing personal and third party related information. The National Assembly cited section 14 of the Freedom of Information Act 2011 which exempts personal information.

However, BudgIT and the PPDC are saying that a publicly funded budget does not fall within the same protections established by the Freedom of Information Act.

They also cited a provision in Section 14(3) which requires disclosure of personal information if such disclosure falls within the public interest and outweighs privacy protections.