Nigerian Government Warns Against Unauthorized Disclosure of Official Documents

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The Federal Government has issued a stern warning that unauthorized disclosure or leakage of official documents, which can negatively impact the country, is a punishable offense.

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Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume, delivered this warning on Tuesday in Abuja at a workshop organized by the Bureau for Public Service Reforms (BPSR) in collaboration with the Office of the Government of the Federation (OSGF).

The workshop, themed “Renewing Hope and Strengthening National Unity Through Effective Communication and the Role of the Official Secret Acts in Maintaining Confidentiality and National Security,” emphasized the importance of maintaining confidentiality.

Represented by Dr. Nnamdi Mbaeri, Permanent Secretary in the Office of the SGF, Akume stated that unauthorized leakage of sensitive official documents constitutes a felony. He stressed that there is no constitutional or Freedom of Information Act defense for such actions.

Section 97 (2) of the Criminal Code Act of Nigeria states: “Any person who, being employed in the public service, without proper authority abstracts, or makes a copy of, any document the property of his employer is guilty of a misdemeanour and is liable to imprisonment for one year.”

Akume highlighted that the government had previously implemented measures to prevent the leakage of sensitive information in MDAs, including issuing service-wide circulars in August 2021 and February 2024.

“These measures were taken to re-emphasize existing regulations prohibiting unauthorized disclosure or leakage of official documents,” he said.

He also noted the need to regulate the activities of civil society organizations that misuse the Freedom of Information Act to harass, intimidate, and siphon resources from public officers through the dissemination of false information.

Akume praised the BPSR for organizing the workshop, which underscores the government’s commitment to disseminating correct and truthful information.

Dr. Dasuki Arabi, Director-General of BPSR, urged participants to familiarize themselves with the Official Secrets Act and effectively communicate government policies and programs to the public.

“Your role as communication managers in MDAs is crucial, especially in our increasingly complex information ecosystem,” Arabi said. “The government must lead the communication landscape to prevent misinformation and ensure citizens are well-informed about government activities and policies.”

He encouraged communication managers to utilize traditional and social media platforms to keep the public informed about government initiatives, programs, and services.

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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