In a move geared towards a better appreciation and implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, over 60 of the schedule officers from various Federal public institutions are billed to meet with the two foremost champions of the law – International Press Centre (IPC) and Media Rights Agenda, at a two-day workshop in Abuja on February 1 and 2, 2022 .
Top on the agenda is the plan to establish an online FOI Platform to enable them to share information, ideas and experiences on the implementation of the FOI Act, 2011.
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), will deliver the keynote address at the workshop, which will also have in attendance, the National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, who is also the Director of Special Duties at the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, as well as Mr. Gowon Ichibor, the Head of the FOI Unit at the Federal Ministry of Justice.
The workshop being organized by the International Press Centre (IPC) in collaboration with Media Rights Agenda (MRA)) and the FOI Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice is funded by by the European Union (EU) under component 4b: Support to Media of the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) Project.
According to the organisations, the overall objective of the workshop is to improve compliance by public institutions with their duties and obligations under the FOI Act, as well as to ensure more effective implementation of the Act through the creation of an interactive online platform for FOI Desk Officers of public institutions to enable them share good practices and learn from each other’s experiences as they oversee implementation by their respective institutions.
Mr. Lanre Arogundade, IPC’s Executive Director, noted that “The creation of an online platform, in addition to facilitating shared learning, experience sharing and best practice application in the implementation of the FOI Act, will also provide an opportunity for FOI Desk Officers of public institutions to be updated with the latest developments on freedom of information, and facilitate collaborative resolution of challenges.”
MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, who is also a member of the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the OGP in Nigeria, said “We strongly believe that this initiative, which is starting with this workshop, and will be followed by other activities, will lead to significant improvements in the implementation of the FOI Act thus contributing to the fulfillment of Nigeria’s commitments in its OGP National Action Plan regarding improved compliance with the FOI Act.”