NATIONAL ARCHIVES DECREE 1992


Decree No. 30
[8th July, 1992]


THE FEDERAL MILITARY GOVERNMENT hereby
decrees as follows:

PART II - PRESERVATION AND MANAGEMENT OF PUBLIC RECORDS

3. Responsibilities for records management.
4. Prohibitions.
5. Designation of Department Records Management officer.
6. Power of Director to examine public records.
7. Operation of records centre.
8. Assessment of practices in public offices.
9. Reports on condition of public records
10. Training of departmental records management staff, etc.
11. Authority of the Secretary to the Government oft he Federation, etc. not impugned.
12. Criteria for the selection or public records for permanent preservation.
13. Responsibility for records transfer.
14. Power of Director to requisition public records in peril.
15. Transfer of records of defunct offices
16. Preservation of constitutional and legal document
17. Statutory delivery of official publications.
18. Deferment of records transfer.
19. Return of records to public offices.
20. Declaration of places of deposit
21. Power of Director over places of deposit
22. Return of public archives removed illegally
23. Repatriation of migrated archives.
24. Acquisition of the records of the President.
25. Disposal of non-archival public records in the National Archives.
26. Power to dispose of private archives restricted.
27. Access of the public to the National Archives.
28. Powers of the Director on access to archives
29. Reproduction and publication of archives.
30. Legal validity of public records.
31. Authentication of copies and seal as evidence of such copies.
32. Reconstruction of public archives
33. Establishment, etc. of State Archives by the State Government.

Responsibilities for Records Management

3. - (I) The head of a public office shall make or cause to be made or filed such record which are essential for
(a) the continuity of his office;

(b) the full documentation of its organisation, functions,policies, procedures and
transactions; and
(c) the efficient, economical and orderly execution of its duties.

(2) The head of a public office shall take steps to ensure that officers turn over all records to their successors and to establish such safeguards against removal or loss of records as he
shall deem necessary or as may be provided by rules and regulations.

Prohibitions

4. - (1) A public office shall not transfer it's non-current records to any other public offices, library, museum or other body without the approval of the Director.]

(2) A public office shall not destroy its non-current records in respect of which no retention or disposal schedules specified in section 5 (2) (b) of this Decree exist without the approval of the Minister.

Designation of departmental records management officer

5. - (1) A public office shall designate an officer of such seniority as a Minister shall, with the approval of the National council of Minister, determine to be the departmental records management officer.

(2) The department records management officer shall have as his function or the main part of his functions the planning; development and organization of records management programme for that office and shall have the following additional functions
(a) afford to the Director such facilities for the examination and inspection of public records as prescribed in section 6 of this Decree;
(b) submit, with the assistance and under the guidance and supervision of the Director, retention and disposal schedules applying to all records not covered by the general schedules mentioned in section 8 (1) of this Decree for the approval of the Minister,

(c) apply tested standard, procedures, techniques, materials and equipment in all matters relating to record making and record keeping, record preservation and protection, selective retention of records, records scheduling for disposal and transfer of records to a Records Centres or to the National Archives.

Power of Director to examine public records

6. - (1) The Director or any other officer designated by him shall have the power to examine records which are not confidential or secret and in the custody of any public officer and shall take such actions in their regards as are provided in the relevant sections of this Decree. .

(2) The Director or any other officer designated by him shall with the permission of the head of the public office that has custody of the records, examine any confidential or secret records.

(3) If the records to be examined under subsection (2) of this section contain any information from members of the public the disclosure of which is, by written law, prohibited or limited to certain purposes, the Director or any other officer designated by him shall take such oaths or make such declaration relating to secrecy (with such modifications as the circumstances require) as is required by the relevant written law to be taken made by the persons having access to such records in the public office which has custody of the said records.

(4) A person who takes an oath or makes a declaration under subsection 3 of this section shall, for the purposes of any punitive provision of the written law relating to any disclosure in contravention of the written law, be deemed to be a person employed in carrying out the provisions of the relevant written law.

Operation of Records Centres

7. The Director shall establish, as an integral part of the National Archives, Federal Records Centre (in this decree referred to as "the records centres") which shall be primarily charged with the management of non-current public records, and in which shall be made available records storage facilities to which may be transferred, for their servicing, security and reviewing,
noncurrent public records which require to be retained.

Assessment of practice in public offices

8- (1) The Director shall, with the approval of the Minister, issue general schedules regarding the retention and disposal of records common to several or all public offices and a public office shall comply with such schedules.

(2) The Director shall assess through periodical reviews of the record making and record keeping practices of the public offices

(a) The adequacy of their records classification Systems as a means of preventing loss of the records;

(b) The extent to which the important policies and programmes of the public office are documented for future research; and

(c) The extent to which records are scheduled for retention or disposal, and given adequate storage and protection.

(3) The Director shall conduct researches and studies, develop and establish standards and procedures, for record making and record keeping, selective retention of records, scheduling of
records for disposal, storage, security and preservation of records and their retirement to records centre or the National Archives.

Reports on condition of public records

9. The Director shall, in relation to his responsibilities under section 8 of this Decree, prepare an annual report to be submitted by the Minister to the National Council of Ministers on
the activities of the public offices in the field of records management and such reports shall be made available to the public offices concerned after approval.

Training of departmental records management staff

10. The Director shall organize training programme aimed at improving the effectiveness and technical knowledge of the staff in the public offices concerned with records management and provide technical advice and assistance in records management to all public offices.

Authority of Secretary to the Government of the Federation, etc not im pugned

11. Nothing in this Decree shall be construed as restricting the authority and responsibility of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation or Federal Civil Service Commission to exercise his functions in respect of general administrative policy in the public service, and in particular, to issue policy statements or guidelines aimed at the administrative improvement of records management in the public service of the Federation or assessing the effectiveness of any public office in these matters.

Criteria for the selection of public records for permanent preservation

12. - (1) All non-current public records of the age of twenty five years and above which contain

(a) evidence of the organization, functions, policies, procedures and transaction of the public office in which they were originally made or received; or
(b) evidence of public or private personal or property rights or civil rights; or

(c) historical or general information are hereby declared public archives and may be transferred to the National Archives at the discretion of the Director

(2) Where confidential or secret records transferred under subsection (I) of this section contain information the disclosure of which is, in accordance with any written law, prohibited or restricted to certain persons, punitive provisions applicable to a person employed in carrying out the provisions of that written law shall be applicable to the Director and other officers or employees of the National Archives who have access to such records.

(3) The Director shall transfer to the National Archives all non-current records offered for transfer by any public office provided he considers that such records deserve to be preserved.

Responsibility for records transfer

13. All the work involved in depositing documentary materials in the National Archives (including transportation and the completion of sets of films) shall be carried out by the institution, organisation or enterprise from which the said materials originate

Power of Director to requisition public records in peril

14. The Director may, with the approval of the Minister requisition all non-current public records meriting preservation and which, not being twenty-five years of age are in danger of loss, deterioration or destruction.

Transfer of records of defunct offices

15. The records of a defunct or terminated public office which the Director considers to deserve preservation shall be transferred to the National Archives; provided that the functions of that office pertaining to the selected records are not transferred to another public office.

Preservation of constitutional and legal document

16. The National Archives shall preserve under adequate security conditions, all original constitutional instruments, treaties, law, decrees and other legal enactments of the Federal Government.

Statutory delivery of official publications

17. The head of every public office shall within three months of publication deliver not less than two copies of every publication issued by that office for preservation as printed archives in the National Archives.

Deferment of records transfer

18. The Director may, if it appears to him to be in the inrerest of the proper administration of the National Archives, direct that the transfer of any category of public records should be suspended until arrangements for their reception have been completed.

Return of records to public offices

19.- (1) The Director may, at the request of the head of the public office from which they were transferred, return records for use in that office; provided that such records shall not be retained
in that office for longer than one year without the consent of the, Director.

(2) The Director may prescribe the conditions for the, safe custody and preservation of the records while in use in the office to which they are in pursuance of subsection (I) of this section and the head of that office shall comply with the instruction

Declaration of places of deposit

20.- (1) If it appears to the Minister that facilities exist for the safe keeping and preservation of public archives and their inspection by the public in some places other than the National Archives and that convenience so requires, he may, at the request, or with the agreement, of the authority responsible for that place declare that place to be a place of deposit for public archives of a particular category or particular categories

(2) Where the Minister declare any place to be a place of deposit for any category or categories of public archives, public archives of such category or categories shall be transferred for preservation or be preserved in that place of deposit in lieu of the National Archives and in relation to such public archives, the provisions of this Decree shall have effect accordingly

Power of Director over places of deposit

21 - (1) Where the Minister declares a place of deposit under section 20 of this Decree, the Director shall make arrangement with the authority responsible for that place for the appointment, as occasion may require, of a suitable person as custodian of the public archives kept there in.

(2) The Director shall have access to a place of deposit and may exercise, in relation to any place of deposit and to the public archives therein, the functions conferred on him by this Decree
in relation to the National Archives and the public archives therein and delegate to the custodian of the public archives in any such place any of those functions other than the power of affixing the seal of the Director of National Archives.

Return of public archives removed illegally

22. - (1) The Director shall have the power to recover any public archives belonging to the Federal Government that have been illegally removed from official custody.

(2) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to Authorise the Director to demand the surrender of any public archives that are kept in any state office except with the consent
of the State Government concerned.

Repatriation of migrated archives

23. The Director shall take steps, as may be necessary, to acquire and have returned to Nigeria any public records or records of historical value to Nigeria which may have been exported from Nigeria prior to the commencement of this Decree.

Acquisition of the records of the President

24. Records of the President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed forces, shall at the end of his tenure of office be transferred to the National Archives after they have been inspected by the Director to ascertain their archival value or to such other Archives as may be provided for by an enactment.

Disposal of non-archival public records in the National Archives

25.-(1) Where the Director is of the opinion that any public archives in the National are duplicated or are in an irreparable state of deterioration or have no permanent value for preservation or should for some other reasons not be preserved, he may, with the approval of the Minister, dispose of such non- archival records in any manner he deems fit.

(2) The list of archives disposed of in the National Archives in pursuance of subsection (1) of this section as well as of any records connected therewith (including the records of approval of the destruction of disposal by the Minister) shall be preserved in the National Archives.

Power to dispose of private archives restricted

26. The Director shall not dispose of any archives voluntarily deposited by private bodies and individuals without the consent of the depositors or their representatives or successors.

Access of the public to the National Archives

27 - (1) Members of the public shall have free access to public archives in the National Archives to which there had been free access when the archives were in the custody of the public office from which they had been transferred.

(2) All public archives of the age of twenty-five years or more shall be open to the inspection of member of the public

But where a longer period of closure had been stipulated by the head of the public office which had the custody of the public archives before their transfer to the National Archives, the Director shall comply with the stipulation.

(3) Public archives relating to the private life of individuals shall not be made available for the inspection of members of the public except with the written permission of the persons concerned, their heirs or their executors, if these are know to the Director

(4) Access to archives voluntarily deposited by a private body or by an individual shall be regulated by the conditions agreed between the depositor and the Director.

Powers of the Director on access to archives

28. - (1) The Director may, with the approval of the Minister, open to public inspection archives which are less than the periods prescribed, stipulated or agreed by virtue of the relevant subsections of section 27 of this Decree, if in his opinion such inspection is not prejudicial to any public or private interest.

(2) The Director may refuse to allow access to any archives on the ground of their fragile conditions and may deny access to any archives pending their classification, repair or other treatment.

Reproduction and publication of archives

29. - (1) Subject to subsection (2) of this section, any person may make or cause the National Archives to make at his own expense copies of or extracts from any public archives which have been made available to him in the National Archives in pursuance of this Decree.

(2) No person may publish the whole or part of any public archives, without the written permission of the Director and in the case of archives voluntarily deposited by private bodies or individuals, without the written consent of the depositor or his representatives.

(3) A person who issues any publication based on the archives he has used in the , National Archives shall deposit a copy of the publication in the National Archives Research Library.

(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed as affecting or extending the law relating to copyright.

Legal validity of public records

30. When it is a requirement of the validity of any public record that it be kept in or produced from legal custody, the validity of the record shall not be affected by its transfer from the appropriate place to the National Archives.

Authentication of copies and seal as evidence of such copies

31. A copy or extract from any archives in the National Archives, including microcopies and photocopies of such a copy or extract, purporting to be duly certified as authentic by the Director
or by the custodian of the public archives in any place of deposit where such archives are kept, and authenticated by having impressed thereon the official seal of the Director or of the place of deposit shall be admissible in evidence, if the original document or documents would have been admissible in evidence in the proceedings.

Reconstruction of public archives

32.The Director may take such steps as appear to him appropriate for the purpose of reconstructing public archives which have been destroyed by fire, flood or other catastrophes

Establishment, etc. of State Archives by the State Government

Preservation of State Archives

33. - (1) A State Government may establish a State Archives.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, any State Government may join with one or more State Governments to establish a joint State Archives.

(3) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to prevent any State Government from assigning the preservation of its archives to the National Archives, so however that such archives shall be regarded and managed as part of the archives of the Federal Government and subject therefore to the provisions of this Decree.

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