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Coalition of civil society groups encourage use of FOI Act


A coalition of network of civil society groups rose from a two-day roundtable at Bridge Waters, Enugu yesterday, calling on the public to make effective use of the instruments of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, to demand information and public disclosures from the public institutions.

This was contained in a statement issued after the conference, which decried the apparently lip service to it in order not to allow corruption to thrive.

Earlier in the opening ceremonies, the country’s Programme Director of J4ALL (DFID), an anti-corruption programme of the British Council, Dr. Bob Anort, had harped on the need to end the lukewarm attitude by the Nigerian public on the application of the Act, which Nigerians fought for 12 years, putting the percentage usage, after the Act became effective on May 28, 2011, to abysmal and negligible less than 10 per cent.

Anort, represented by the anti-corruption component manager of the organisation, Emmanuel Uche, and some groups under the aegis Media Initiation Against Injustice; Violence and Corruption (MIVOC) and Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria (FOICN), speaking on the theme: “Creating an Open Society Using FOI Act’’, expressed their feelings, regretting that records from the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, only 40 persons applied in 2015; 60 in 2014 and 52 applications for information disclosures were made in 2013.

He disclosed that six years the J4ALL has been in existence, embarking on research on the subject, frantic efforts should be put in place, stressing: ‘’Since five years after, how far have we made good of this FOI Act? Why would the percentage be less than 10? We have come to take stock.”

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