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Information ministry, others rank low on compliance with FOI Act

By Joke Falaju, Abuja
29 September 2021   |   3:11 am
Eighty-five ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), including the Federal Ministry of Information, National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and Ministry of Agriculture, have been ranked low on compliance with the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

Eighty-five ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), including the Federal Ministry of Information, National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) and Ministry of Agriculture, have been ranked low on compliance with the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act.

The 2021 FoI Act compliance ranking, which placed MDAs based on their proactive disclosure, level of responsiveness to request for information and level of disclosure, revealed that of the 213 agencies assessed, Federal Ministry of Information and 16 others scored 185th position.

The Nigeria Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), and National Orientation Agency (NOA) were, however, ranked first, second and third with 68.5 points, 60.5 points and 51 points respectively.

The ranking was carried out by a coalition of six civil society groups comprising Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), BudgIT, Right to Know, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and Basic Rights Watch. It aimed not to shame the MDAs but to encourage them to comply with the FoI Act.

PPDC’s Chief Operating Officer, Gift Maxwell, in her opening remarks, said democracy could only function effectively when citizens are fully informed. She added that citizens can only participate in governance when they have unrestricted access to public information, as this would help them interrogate govern

Mr. Maxwell Kadiri of Open Society Justice Initiative attributed low compliance with the FOI Act to lack of political will by the government, noting that there are a lot of indices in the legislation that could advance implementation.

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