200 CSOs to meet on implementation of FoI Act

ABOUT two hundred Civil Society Organisations (csoS) are expected to meet in Abuja and Enugu, simultaneously, next week, on increased use of Nigeria’s Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

Participants from the northern part of Nigeria were to meet in Abuja, while those from the southern part of the country would meet in Enugu.

The 2-day roundtables are being put together by the Media Initiative against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC), in collaboration with the Freedom of Information Coalition-Nigeria, with support from Justice for All (DFID) and the aim was to increase the usage of the Act by Nigerians.

Chairman, Board of Governors, Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria, Dr Walter Duru gave the hint in a statement made available to Saturday Tribune, on Friday.

According to Duru, the events were aimed at engaging the stakeholders in the media and the civil societies across the country on issues relating to increased use and implementation of the FOI Act.

“Recall that Nigeria’s FOI Act was signed into law on May 28 2011, after the longest legislative debate in the history of Nigeria. The law was passed to enable the public to access information from government and its institutions, in order to ensure transparency and accountability.”

“The FOI Act aims to make public records and information more freely available. It enables citizens to hold the government accountable in the event of the misappropriation of public funds or failure to deliver public services.

“It also seeks to protect serving public officers against any adverse consequences from the disclosure of certain kinds of official information, and to establish procedures for the achievement of these purposes.

“Available statistics show that there is an extremely low usage of the Act in Nigeria by the citizens, especially, media and civil society practitioners”, he said.