The Code of Conduct Bureau will not make the details of assets declared to it by President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo public. This is due to limitations in federal laws covering such release, the CCB said.
The presidency had said the declared assets will be made known after the Code of Conduct Bureau authenticates claims in the declaration forms.
President Muhammadu Buhari had pledged to publicly declare his assets despite the lack of a law requiring him to do so as the 1999 Constitution stated that office holders declare their assets, without requiring them to do so publicly. However, his failure to do so raised doubts in some quarters about his famed integrity.
A civil society group, Stop Impunity Nigeria, an affiliate of the Centre for Social Justice, had on June 1, 2015 applied to the CCB to request copies of the completed assets declaration forms by the President and his Vice, using the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, FOIA, 2011.
However, in its response CCB/HQ/670/G/1/104 dated June 10, 2015 and signed by Ijeanuli Ofor on behalf of the Chairman, the CCB declined the request, citing the absence of prescribed law by the National Assembly authorizing the release of such information to the public.
Like many Nigerians, constitutional lawyer, Professor Itse Sagay, SAN had said he expected President Buhari to declare his assets just days after his inauguration.
“I have no doubt that he will make it public because that is where credibility starts. That is where Jonathan started losing credibility. The late Umar Yar’Adua forced him to declare his assets in 2007, reluctantly, he did it. But when he was his own man, he said he does not give a damn and that is where he started sliding down,” Sagay said about a day after Buhari’s inauguration.
“So, Buhari has no choice, it is absolute for himself and Osinbajo if change and credibility are going to be sustained. There is no other way out, so I expect in the next 24 hours or so that we would know what their assets are. He should apply it to every other appointee of his regime, not just himself and Osinbajo, it is compulsory and absolute,” Sagay said.
Nigerians will be waiting to hear the president’s position on the disclosure by the CCB.