EXPLAINER: What is a government white paper?

Codi Saxon

On Oct 19, 2020, as aspect of suggestions place ahead in the course of the #EndSARS protests, the Lagos federal government set up a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate petitions on law enforcement brutality in the state. Subsequent the submission of the panel’s report on Monday, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor […]

On Oct 19, 2020, as aspect of suggestions place ahead in the course of the #EndSARS protests, the Lagos federal government set up a judicial panel of inquiry to investigate petitions on law enforcement brutality in the state.

Subsequent the submission of the panel’s report on Monday, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, governor of Lagos, constituted a four-member committee to come up with a white paper on the suggestions of the panel.

Moyosore Onigbanjo, the Lagos legal professional-common, was appointed to chair the white-paper committee.

“Four of them will pretty speedily glance by and deliver forward a white paper inside of the next two weeks that will be regarded at the Lagos state government council and would be gazetted as a white paper coming from the panel of enquiry,” he said.

The move by the governor to elevate a white paper was explained by some as duplicity and a waste of time. But is it?


A white paper is an official doc that analyses the issues encompassing a subject matter subject, along with proposed options. Notice that white papers are produced or demanded across political, business and complex fields. On the other hand, the concentration in this article is the governing administration white paper.

A govt white paper is a document putting ahead proposals for law-generating in a policy place. It serves as a way the federal government arrives up with, and presents plan preferences ahead of it introduces laws.

In the context of the #EndSARS report, the white paper will overview the recommendations of the panel, and then present action points that the governing administration is anticipated to take.

Put it this way: even though the judicial panel performed an investigation and provided suggestions, the white paper will be a compilation of what is anticipated to be the government’s action factors, as well as what can be gazetted, develop into coverage or regulation.

There have been many tips by white paper committees set up by the federal and condition governments to tackle varying challenges.

In 2011, a committee on the restructuring and rationalisation of federal govt parastatals, commissions and companies was constituted, and headed by Stephen Oronsaye, previous head of civil company. In its report submitted on April 16, 2012, the committee advisable a reduction in the range of federal companies from 263 to 161 — with a proposal for the scrapping of 38 organizations, merging of 52 organizations, even though 14 should revert to departments in ministries — to reduce the price tag of governance in the country.

The white paper on the report was released in March 2014 and was adopted by the white paper implementation committee inaugurated in Might 2014. However, recommendations of the white paper had been not applied at the time. In November 2021, the President Muhammadu Buhari-led federal governing administration inaugurated two sub-committees to evaluation the white paper report.

Talking on the improvement, Manager Mustapha, secretary to the federal government of the federation (SGF), experienced mentioned the non-implementation of some of the suggestions of the report was at a drawback to the federal federal government.

“For a variety of reasons, most of which were being anchored on political expediency, the white paper not only rejected a large amount of the tips, it also merely mentioned an similarly bigger variety of other people. But once again, even those people recognized have been not applied,” he stated.

The implication of this is that the proposals set forward in a white paper may perhaps not be remaining, and can be subjected to even further overview.

“Generally, the committee’s tips were much reaching and if thoroughly carried out, could decrease the charge of governance. But there ended up several problems of judgement which would not serve the best of community fascination if implemented. For instance, the final decision to scrap the Fiscal Accountability Commission,” the Centre for Social Justice claimed, in a 2014 critique of the Oronsaye committee report and the federal federal government white paper.

“However, the FGN White Paper reversed a superior number of the gains that would have accrued from the complete implementation of the Committee’s recommendations. The White Paper employed incredible caution and at the conclusion of the working day watered down some of the recommendations,” it extra.

A further illustration is the white paper panel established up by the Kwara federal government on the illegal sale of state attributes among 1999 and 2019. In accordance to the white paper, which was introduced to Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, governor of Kwara, in Could 2021, the panel termed for the prosecution of community business holders together with Bukola Saraki and Abdulfatah Ahmed — the two former governors — above allegations of mismanaging governing administration property.


The phrase, ‘white paper’, dates back again to 20th century Britain, and is employed to refer to reports issued by the govt with the ‘white’ indicating that the doc is available for general public access.

The report of the Lagos judicial panel on police brutality was not a public doc it was leaked to the public. What is predicted to be designed community is the white paper when it is finally compiled and submitted.

Meanwhile, in countries this kind of as the Republic of Ireland and the United States, a green paper is a tentative government report of a proposal without having any commitment to motion. It serves as the initially action in changing the legislation. Environmentally friendly papers may perhaps final result in the output of a white paper.

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