Press Release:

Right To Know (R2K) Translates The Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) 2011 And Other Educational Publications Into Hausa Language; Other Translations To Follow Shortly

15 March 2012; Abuja 

As part of its on-going public enlightenment campaign on the FOI Act 2011, The Right to Know Initiative (R2K) and the Open Society Justice Initiative, with support from the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), has today, released the first in a series of local Nigerian language text of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2011 and related information, education and communication publications for widespread public dissemination.

 

The decision to translate the FOI Act into Nigerian languages is to ensure that people who cannot read and write in English are not deprived of the benefit of the provisions of the law.

 

The project commenced with the translation of the FOI Act and 2 publications on the FOI Act produced by R2K into Hausa language.  They are: Understanding the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2011; and 23 Reasons for the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2011.

 

R2K's translation of the FOI Act and these related materials into Hausa language is the first in a series of projects aimed at ensuring proper education of grassroots communities on the principles, content and utility of the FOI law. 

 

Translating the FOI Act into Yoruba, Igbo and Pidgin English is currently on-going and should be completed soon, while work on translating the materials into several other major Nigerian languages is currently being actively explored. 

 

Section 3 (3) and (4) of the Freedom of Information Act recognises that all people have the right to access information, regardless of any form of literacy handicap. 

 

Therefore, all people, regardless of whether or not they face a literacy challenge, need to be made aware of this, and other rights. 

 

EneEnonche, National Coordinator, R2K stated, "Our objective is to ensure that every man on the street is empowered with the accurate knowledge and understanding of the Law, to actively participate in the governance of his society in keeping with the clear provisions of Section 14(2) (c) of the Nigerian Constitution, and to educate his or her peers with that same knowledge." 

 

According to her, information places power in the hands of the people. "By translating the FOI Act into local languages, we are ensuring that every stratum of the Nigerian society can have the Act at its fingertips, and in a language everyone in the community understands" she added.

 

The project seeks to combat the enduring widespread perception that Nigerian legislations and its government are un- necessarily elitist; a perception that is largely based on the existing lack of public access to these laws as well as the lack of proficiency to read and understand the language in which these laws are usually written (English Language). 

 

It is our hope that by translating the FoI Act and related educational materials into local languages, R2K would be making a modest contribution towards promoting a true practice of democracy in Nigeria as 'government of the people, by the people and for the people'. This would also be in keeping with the provisions of Section 14(1) of the Constitution which states that "The Federal Republic of Nigeria shall be a state based on the principles of democracy and social justice." 

 

To access copies of the materials click the links below:

 

DALILAI 23 DA SUKA SANYA AKE BUKATAR DOKAR (23 reasons for the FOIA)

• YADDA YA KAMATA A FAHIMCI DOKAR 'YANCIN SAMUN BAYANAI (FOIA) TA 2011(Understanding the FOI series 1)

• DOKAR 'YANCIN SAMUN BAYANAI (FOI Act)

 

END

 

……….Promoting the right of access to information in Nigeria

Dr. Mairo Mandara -Chairperson, Tunde Fagbohunlu (SAN), Eze Anaba, Uche Onyeagocha,

Gbenga Aruleba, Toyosi Akerele, Ene Enonche