The Freedom of Information Law and Democratization in Nigeria
Nigeria is rife with marginalisation and human rights abuses, which have been aggravated by inequitable distribution of national wealth. This situation calls for viable institutional arrangements for the protection of fundamental human rights. The press has been empowered in this regard but Nigeria remains rife with a plethora of human rights abuses. The present paper therefore examines the freedom of information law and democratization in Nigeria. The paper is conceptualised within the ambit of Mills’ Theory of Sociological Imagination. Data used for the paper were derived from relevant documents and key informant interviews. A total of 64 journalists were purposively selected from 16 print and electronic press organisations in Lagos and Oyo states of Nigeria. Findings show that the press has been empowered through the Freedom of Information Bill, which was signed into law after a decade of its presentation to the Nigerian government. Most of the informants mentioned that the Freedom of Information Law would stimulate democratization, although they expressed doubts about its efficacy. Also, two-third of the informants expressed dissatisfaction over continuity of press freedom abuse in Nigeria. The results of this paper suggest the need for national consciousness to ensure protection of press freedom and human rights
in the Nigerian democracy.