Publicly declaring assets is voluntary – Presidency


A presidential spokesperson on Tuesday said there was no law that mandates President Muhammadu Buhari to declare his assets publicly.

The presidency was reacting to the demand of the Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, (SERAP) which urged Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and the 36 state governors to make their assets public in seven days.

SERAP, in its statement on Sunday, argued that the non-disclosure by the officials “seriously undermines the effectiveness and integrity of the constitutional and statutory obligations to submit asset declarations.”

Meanwhile, the presidency through Femi Adesina, spokesperson to Buhari, while reacting on Monday during a Channels TV programme, said no law compelled his principal to make public his assets in his second term.

He said such a decision to make the assets public “is voluntary will and not a compulsion.”

“The president will do what the law requires of him and I can say for a fact that the president has declared his assets.

“Declaring that publicly is not in our law but voluntary. Therefore, he cannot be compelled to do so,” he said.

Recall that Buhari and Osinbajo released some details of their assets during their first tenure in 2015.

The FOI Act establishes the right of anyone to request information in the custody of any public official, agency or institution, with the exception of security files which are not of public concern.

Adesina also noted that, “If FOI Act is invoked, it will be left with the Code of Conduct Bureau to release such information. The president has declared and already deposited the documents to them. So, it’s left to them to make such a decision,” he argued.

The Code of Conduct Bureau had in the past refused to disclose such information saying it was not mandated by law to do so.

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