Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), a civil society group tracking constituency projects, has revealed it was asked to pay N10,000 to access a two-page document containing public information.

The group had requested for information on the 2017 Zonal Intervention Project handled by the Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority in Kwara State.

According to the group, the Lower Niger River Basin, when responding to FOI request, asked the organisation pay the amount into its treasury single account before it could access the information requested.

Speaking with SaharaReporters, coordinator of the civil society group, Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef, quoted Section 8 of the 2011 FOI act that fees charged for FOI should be limited to transcription fees and duplication fees, where necessary.

“By our interpretation, this section is applicable to a situation where the agency is providing us with a bulky and voluminous document that will require them some amount to reproduce.

“The cost of production could be paid, which will be the standard charges (not outrageous charges) for the volume of the document provided. In our own encounter with Lower Niger River Basin Development Authority, the document provided for us is just two pages. We do not understand how a two-page document translates to a payment of N10,000,” he said.

Contesting the fee charged by the MDA, Alagbonsi said ENetSuD does not understand the basis for the payment.

“We are not supposed to pay for the cost of compilation of the activities of the agency as it is within its corporate responsibility under the FOI act,” he said.

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