The Code of Conduct Bureau has refused to release copies of asset declaration forms of some prominent Nigerians more than seven days after Saturday Punch sent a letter of request to the bureau.
Relying on the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, Saturday Punch had on January 24 written to the CCB asking for copies of asset declaration forms of the Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha; Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige; Minister of Works, Housing and Power, Babatunde Fashola (SAN); Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu; and Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi.
Other office holders Saturday Punch sought for their declaration forms from the CCB were Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed; Minister of Agriculture, Audu Ogbeh; Minister of State for Transportation(Aviation), Hadi Sirika; Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami; Director-General, DSS, Yusuf Bichi; and Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed.
In the letter signed by the Punch Head of Abuja Bureau, Olusola Fabiyi, the bureau was also asked to provide the list of defaulters.
The letter read in part, “Beyond the listed political office holders’ asset declaration forms, kindly furnish us with the number and names of political office holders who have yet to fill and submit their asset declaration forms for whatever reasons.
“We will also want to know the number of names of political office holders the Code of Conduct Bureau is investigating over issues relating to asset declaration forms.”
The newspaper also urged the CCB to furnish it with the names of political office holders, who had yet to comply with the bureau’s directive to visit it for verification.
“Based on the provision of the FOI Act, we hope that our request will be granted within seven days of your receipt of this letter,” the letter also read.
But despite a number of reminders during the seven-day period stipulated by the FoI Act, the CCB failed to respond to the letter. As of close of work on Friday, February 1, 2019, the CCB had yet to respond.
When Hope For Nigeria sought to know the reason for the agency’s action, a top official in CCB simply told one of our correspondents, “The letter is on the chairman’s table. Can he be forced to respond?”