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Government urged to respect FOI Act

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The Federal Government and its agencies are contravening the provisions of the freedom of information Act (FOI) that mandates them to disclose relevant information on demand.

This development elicited reaction from experts yesterday, as they called for transparency in administration of the FOI Act.

BudgIT Nigeria, a civic tech organisation used the FOI Act as reference in demand of the financial details used in construction of Ikeja Bus Terminal, urged the Lagos state government to be more transparent in its processes.

In a press statement signed by the organization’s communication lead, Abiola Afolabi, “The Organisation wishes to state that the lack of transparency breeds corruption and there is no room for opacity in the fight against corruption.”

The organization backed up their claims, using the judgment by Justice Ridwan Maiwada Abdullahi, JCA in Ondo state Appeal court which compelled Government and other bodies to comply with the FOI Act in a letter dated May 31, 2018 reiterated the requests made by the organisation on the cost of executing the Ikeja Bus Terminal.

Racheal Omosule, a lawyer stated that Nigerians’ ignorance of the FOI Act, had given public office holders the liberty to shun accountability on disbursement of public funds for projects.

Omosule then advocate public enlightenment programmes to equip citizens with requisite knowledge to be able to question government on matters relating to their rights.

Another legal practitioner, Sesi Hundeyin said the constitution allows Non governmental agencies to act as watchdogs and to sue public officers whenever right to accountability is refused.


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