EU urges Implementation of FoI Law to reinforce transparency, others
Worried by lack of access to public information, the European Union (EU) has stressed the need for the Federal Government to enforce the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act in all public institutions.
According to the group, doing so would reinforce legitimacy in governance by addressing sustainable development challenges and democracy deficits, and also deepen transparency.
The EU delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Head of section, Democracy, Governance and Migration, Clement Boutillier, made this call in Abuja, during a two-day workshop for FoI desk officers of public institutions organised by the International Press Centre (IPC), and the Media Rights Agenda (MRA).
According to Boutillier, no democracy can function without full transparency and access to public information, adding that the quality of democratic processes is linked to the state of access to information, freedom of expression, as well as media freedom and pluralism.
He noted that access to information is an essential tool in the fight against corruption, as it facilitates identification and uncovering of corrupt practices, and enables participation in the development of anti-corruption policy and law.
The EU chief regretted that there were still Fol requests that go unaddressed and called for action to address the challenge.
“We would like to take this opportunity to encourage the government to take measures to strengthen the efficient implementation of the Fol act. I would like once again to stress the important role of the freedom of information act in fostering democracy and in promoting a culture of dialogue and restate our commitment to supporting the safety and welfare of all individuals who rely on this act in the course of their duties.
“Freedom of information and expression is a fundamental right enshrined in international law. Most recently, new technologies have imposed themselves as an extremely powerful medium for the preservation and strengthening of this right… Public, free, diverse and independent access to information is at the core of a pluralistic and open society while increasing the free flow of government information,” he stated.