Friday, April 18, 2014

Nigeria's human rights chief to declare asset publicly

Published:

Chidi Odinkalu, Chair, National Human Rights Commission

While President Goodluck Jonathan continues to keep his personal asset secret, the chairman of the National Human Rights Commission, Chidi Odinkalu, will tomorrow declare his publicly. 

A source close to Mr. Odinkalu, whose appointment was ratified by the National Assembly late last year,  told Premium Times that the human rights boss decision to declare his asset is part of his effort to ensuring transparency in the running of the council

“Chidi is determined to make a mark with the commission. He wants to ensure that people know what he has before and after his tenure just as he wants to ensure effectiveness at the commission,” said the source.

Mr. Odinkalu’s decision to declare his asset publicly is a deviation from President Jonathan’ s decision to keep his asset declaration secret. Not only did Mr. Jonathan refuse to declare his asset publicly, the government agency responsible for keeping records of asset declaration by public officials also refused to disclose it when approached.

Last year, the African Youth Media and Communication Initiative, citing the Freedom of Information Act, requested the asset declaration of Mr. Jonathan from the Code of Conduct Bureau.

The bureau however refused to grant the request, a decision the civil society group has promised to challenge in court.

Late President Umaru Yar’Adua  pioneered public asset declaration by top government officials when he declared his asset after his election in 2007. A decision the then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan reluctantly followed after much public pressure.

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