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ITREALMS : Leading human rights activists, Mr. Femi Falana SAN and Prof. Chidi Odinkalu are billed to speak at this year’s League of An...

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ICT4D Week 2018

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Nigerians urged to own FOI Act 2011 - ITREALMS

Nigerians have been urged to own the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act signed into law since 2011, says the chairman, board of Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria (FOICN), Dr. Chike Walter Duru, reports ITREALMS.

He spoke at a two-day Capacity Building Roundtable on the Provisions and Use of the Freedom of Information Act 2011, at Genesis Hotel, Ikeja, Lagos, as part of the European Union (EU) funded Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (ROLAC) programme with representatives of non-state actors including Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), the Media, private Legal practitioners and mainstream Civil Society actors in the state.

Dwelling on “Freedom of Information Act: An Overview,” Dr. Duru said that FOI as a citizen-driven law should be accepted with two hands by Nigerians and run with it.

According to him until citizens decide the FOI Act will work, only then will it work.

He implore Nigerians who feel strongly about positive change in the country to explore the FOI Act, as it has all it takes to enthrone transparency, accountability and development the country so much desire.

“The only way to make FOI work is for citizens to explore it and ask questions,” he declared.

Duru, who also the Head, Department of Mass Communication, Madonna University, Okija Campus, Nigeria, also lamented on the fact that in the past seven years of this Act only 330 Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have complied with the mandate of FOI for them to give institutional reports annually.

He listed some of the benefits of FOI Act 2011 signed into law on May 28, to enable Nigerians to access certain government information, in order to ensure transparency and accountability.

“FOI Act gives every Nigerian a legal right of access to information, records and documents held by government bodies and private bodies bound by the law,” he enthused, insisting that it applies to all arms and tiers of government.

On who is qualified to seek information, Dr. Duru said that any citizen of Nigeria irrespective of professional discipline.

“Any other person seeking clarification of public issues,” he declared.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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