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Lagos, Rivers, 20 others keep budget secret

More than half of the 36 states of the federation have continued to keep details of their budget secret despite the provision of the Freedom of Information Act that forbids such secrecy.

FOIA 2011 mandates every government agency to disclose official information of public interest, even if unsolicited.

But most states routinely disregard the act, especially in respect to public funding.

Lagos State, in particular, is clever by half with budget presentation. The state routinely publishes a sketchy budget on its official website that leaves out the detail of the annual spending (see: www.lagosbudget.org).

Other states in the Southern region that customarily keep the details of their budget under wrap are Ogun, Oyo, Osun Delta, Rivers, Bayelsa and Cross River, with the exception of Ekiti, Ondo, Edo and Akwa Ibom as the most transparent in term of budget allocation.

All the states in the Southeast do not publish their budget.

In the northern region, only nine states do not publish their full budget, the rest have their full budget in public domain. States that refuse to publish budgets in violation of FOIA are Borno, Adamawa, Taraba, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi.

Others in the North central are Niger, Benue and Plateau.

The Guardian confirms that the northern states in full compliance are Bauchi, Gombe, Jigawa, kaduna, kano, Kogi, Kwara, Katsina, Nassarawa and Yobe.

BudgIT, a civic group specialises in budget education said it has written a letter to all the affected states including Lagos without any response, except Delta State government. The group in a tweet said it is determined to continue asking for compliance of FOIA.

“We will keep asking, these funds are for the public. We need to see the books open,” BudgIT said.



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