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Firm hails The Gambia for signing FIB into law

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A freedom of information advocacy, research, and litigation law firm in Nigeria, FOI Counsel, has commended The Gambia for signing the Access to Information Bill 2021 into law.

According to the firm, The Gambia is now the 24th country in Africa to have passed a law that promotes access to public records.

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“While we admonish the government to compliment the legislation with proactive disclosure, the law might suffer from a major setback where MDAs have poor compliance record,” the firm said in a statement signed by its managing partner, President Aigbokhan.

From experience of other jurisdictions, Aigbokhan said government creates structure and systems for minimal resistance of compliance while the CSOs and citizens take up the key to open up governance space.

He said: “The law was designed to simplify public access to doors of governance and the people of The Gambia must give the law a drive-by pressuring review through demand.

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“August 25, 2021 marks a watershed in the history of access to public records as the Republic of The Gambia President, Adama Barrow signed Access to Information (ATI) Bill 2021 to law.

“The Bill was presented to the National Assembly in December 2019 by Hon. Dawda Jallow and same was passed on July 1, 2021, and signed into law on August 25, 2021.

“As a leading litigation advocacy group on FOI in Nigeria, litigation is the pill of FOI applications. But practice has shown that litigation is the snack of FOI usage. We sincerely wish the Gambia a memorable experience.”

According to him, FOI Counsel has continued to promote the right to expression and information on all frontiers.

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