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Push for domestication of FoI Act in states, CSOs told

By Tina Agosi Todo, Calabar
06 October 2022   |   4:00 am
Connected Development (CODE) has called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to push for domestication of Freedom of Information (FoI) Act in states.

Connected Development (CODE) has called on Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to push for domestication of Freedom of Information (FoI) Act in states.

The organisation, in collaboration with Power of Voices Partnership Fiscal Accountability for Inequality Reduction for All (PVP-FAIRforAll) and OXFAM Nigeria, made the call during a two-day capacity workshop on Effective Advocacy and Mainstreaming of Freedom of Information Act in Calabar, Cross River State.

The Programme Manager for CODE and PVP-FAIRforAll, Mr. Kingsley Agu, said emphasis has been on the Act because of the expanding civic space.

He said CODE and its partners decided to invite CSOs from Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Imo, Delta and Rivers states and some government key stakeholders from the states to remind them of their roles in ensuring that the FoIA is domesticated in their states.

Agu said the biggest challenge the organisation and some CSOs are facing in accessing information from government is that the FoIA has not been domestication in most states.

He also identified the challenge of government officials not knowing what the FoIA entails.

Agu stated: “The FoIA is one of the greatest instrument for achieving freedom of information. It is important because it guarantees access to information to citizens and expands the civic space, making citizens to know what government is all about.

“One of the challenges we face is the issue of the Act not been domesticated in states.

“Another issue we have also identified with the FoIA is that a lot of government officials don’t even know what the Act entails and the powers it would have given to citizens to access information from government.”

Another participant and a Senior Special Adviser to the governor of Delta State on Civic Engagement, Mr. Rex Anighoro, noted: “More awareness’s is needed to enable all Nigerians understand the FoIA. Government exist for the people and if the office of the citizens must be supreme, the process of engagement between both parties needs to be deepened and synergies created.”