FOIA | Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation

Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation

Freedom of Information Act Freqently Asked Questions and Answers

Since 2011, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) has provided the public the right to request access to records from any federal agency. It is often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government. Federal agencies are required to disclose any information requested under the FOIA unless it falls under one of nine exemptions which protect interests such as personal privacy, national security, and law enforcement.
Generally public - Nigeria citizen or not can make a FOIA request.
Before making a request, first look to see if the information you are interested in is already publicly available. You can find a lot of useful information on a range of topics on each OHCSF website. If the information you want is not publicly available, you can submit a FOIA request to the OHCSF FOIA Office via online form on OHCSF website. The request simply must be reasonably describe the records you seek.
OHCSF handles its own records in response to requests. There is Office that process FOIA requests. Your request will receive the quickest possible response if it is addressed directly to the FOIA office, you can submit a FOIA request to the OHCSF FOIA Office via online form on OHCSF website.
Yes, there is specific FOIA requests form that must be used to make a request via online form on OHCSF website.
A FOIA request can be made for any OHCSF record. You can also specify the format in which you wish to receive the records (for example, printed or electronic form). The FOIA does not require OHCSF to create new records or to conduct research, analyze data, or answer questions when responding to requests.
After an OHCSF FOIA Office receives your FOIA request, you will usually receive a letter acknowledging the request with an assigned tracking number. If the OHCSF FOIA Office requires additional information before it can begin to process your request, it will contact you. The office will typically search for records in response to your request and then review those records to determine which - and what parts of each - can be released. The office will redact, or black out, any information protected from disclosure by FOIA’s exemptions. The releasable records will then be sent to you.
There is no initial fee required to submit a FOIA request, but the FOIA does provide for the charging of certain types of fees in some instances. For a typical requester the agency can charge for the duplication of records per pages of duplication. You may always include in your request form a specific statement limiting the amount that you are willing to pay in fees.
You may request a waiver of fees. Under the FOIA, fee waivers are limited to situations in which a requester can show that the disclosure of the requested information is in the public interest because it is likely to contribute significantly to public understanding of the operations and activities of the government and is not primarily in the commercial interest of the requester. Requests for fee waivers from individuals who are seeking records on themselves usually do not meet this standard. In addition, a requester’s inability to pay fees is not a legal basis for granting a fee waiver.
Once the OHCSF FOIA Office has processed your request it will send you a email response. This response will let you know whether records were located and will include all releasable documents. If any portions of the records are withheld, for instance because disclosure would invade an individual’s personal privacy, the agency will inform you of the specific FOIA exemption that is being applied.
OHCSF FOIA Office typically process requests in the order of receipt. The time it takes to respond to a request will vary depending on the complexity of the request and any backlog of requests already pending at the agency. A simple request can be processed faster by the office than one that is complex. Simple requests are typically more targeted and seek fewer pages of records. Complex requests typically seek a high volume of material or require additional steps to process such as the need to search for records in multiple locations. The FOIA Officers are available to assist you with any question about the status of your request and any steps you can take to receive a quicker response.
Under certain conditions you may be entitled to have your request processed on an expedited basis. There are two specific situations where a request will be expedited, which means that it is handled as soon as practicable. First, a request will be expedited if the lack of expedited treatment could reasonably be expected to pose a threat to someone’s life or physical safety. Second, if there is an urgency to inform the public about an actual or alleged Federal Government activity, if made by a person who is primarily engaged in disseminating information, his or her request will be expedited.
If you are seeking records on yourself you will be required to provide your identity number. This identity number is required in order to protect your privacy and to ensure that private information about you is not disclosed inappropriately to someone else. Whenever you request information about yourself you will be asked to provide either a notarized statement or a statement signed under penalty of perjury stating that you are the person who you say you are.
Generally, when requesting information about another person you will receive greater access by submitting authorization from that individual permitting the disclosure of the records to you. If you request records relating to another person, and disclosure of the records could invade that person’s privacy, they ordinarily will not be disclosed to you.