The Nigerian Stock Exchange is the latest recipient of the freedom of information hall of shame award.
The award, which was launched in July 2017, is conferred on public officials and institutions undermining the effectiveness of the FOI Act through their actions, inactions, utterances, and decisions.
Media Rights Agenda (MRA), on Monday, accused the NSE of failing to comply with its duties and responsibilities as stated in the FOI Act.
“Given its mission, the NSE should operate and project itself in a manner that will uphold integrity, transparency and protect the investors, thereby creating confidence in the institution,” Chioma Nwaodike, MRA’s legal officer, said.
“One way of doing this effectively is to observe all the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, which will enable it to be transparent and project an image of integrity.”
According to MRA, the exchange had said it is not subject to the FOI Act when some investors, who lost money to an investment in an unregistered investment product, requested for documents and information on the partnership entity.
However, Ayokunle Faji, a justice of the federal high court in Lagos, said the exchange was established to serve the interest of the public.
Faji said, “on a literal interpretation of Section 2(7) Freedom of information Act, therefore, it seems to me and I hold that the defendant (NSE) is a public institution and therefore subject to the Freedom of Information Act.”
Nwaodike said the NSE has not taken steps to comply with the act despite the court judgement.
The NSE was established in 1960 as the Lagos Stock Exchange and renamed the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1977.
It is licensed under the Investments and Securities Act (ISA) and regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and serves as the most significant source for companies to raise funds and business capital.