Nigeria’s opposition Action Congress (AC) parry Monday c alled for an ”urgent passage” of the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill, saying if the bill had been passed into l aw, it might have helped to avert the crisis that hit the country’s banking sector and the capital market.
“If the FOI bill had been passed, someone could have blown the whistle on the c risis in the banking sector much earlier and there might be no need to wait for a (CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido) Sanusi to help clear the mess in the sector,” the party said in a statement made available to PANA here.
“Also, the stock market may not have gone down the way it did, as all the insid er trading and other shenanigans that helped to ruin the market could have been exposed early enough for something positive to be don e,” it said.
The FOI bill has been languishing at the National Assembly (parliament), where i t returned to after former President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to sign it into law when it was passed by the last legislative session.
AC said the passage of the FOI bill became even more urgent ”in the face of rec ent revelations of the hanky-panky in the banking sector”.
It said: “Thanks to the revelation from Central Bank Of Nigeria, we now know th at some of the banks and their so-called whiz kids have engaged in unethical practices, cooking of the books and downright mismanag ement of depositors’ fund.
“But do we know what is happening in other sectors of the economy? Do we know w hat is happening in government, which is custodian of the commonwealth? Do we know what is happening in the oil sector, which is a key sec tor of the economy? Do we know what is happening in Insurance sector, which is also important?
“We will only know if we have a law like the FOI in place. That is why we have decided to re-launch our appeal to all concerned to speedily pass the bill into law and let’s start the process of genuine ‘open governance’, of t ransparency and a sincere battle against corruption,” the party said.
The CBN was forced to intervene recently to safe 5 of the country’s banks recent ly by injecting 420 billion naira into the banks and changing their Chief Execut i ve Officers over unsecured loans, among others.