April 17, 2024

Group Tasks Edo Govt On Domestication Of Freedom Of Information Act

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By Simeon OSAJIE

The Conference of Non-Governmental organizations in conjunction with ResearcherNG, has tasked the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to domesticate the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the state to engender transparency and accountability in governance.

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The group in a sensitization rally to the premises of the Edo State House of Assembly (EDHA) and the secretariat of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Edo State, said the rally has become so necessary because the citizens have rights to seek for information and should not be hindered.

Speaking on behalf of the group at the premises of the Edo State House of Assembly, the Policy and Governance Advocacy Officer ResearcherNG, Modupe Akinwale, said if the FOIA is domesticated in the state, it will suit all.

“We are agitating for the domestication of the Freedom of Information Act.

“We started our campaign from the king square and this is not a fight for the civil society organizations alone. It is a fight for all. Citizens and most especially, media organizations. As it also going to help them access information”, Akinwale said.

Addressing the group, the Special Adviser to the Speaker on Media Mrs. Ivy Ebojiele said the Edo 8th Assembly is a grass rooted assembly; an assembly of people who have the interest of Edo State at heart.

According to her, “Freedom of Information is what we all need. As your group has come, you need to do a petition or a write up.  With that, wherever will be done would be based on your needs and aspirations, because we all know we need access to information and this Freedom of Information Act supposed to have been domesticated a long time ago, and I know this issue has come up often. So, may be this is the time for it to be domesticated,” she said.

Addressing Edo State Chairman of NUJ, Comrade Festus Alenkhe at the secretariat of the Union, Chairman, Joint National Association of Persons With Disabilities, Edo State, Comrade Ann Ojugo, said that it is worrisome that since the Freedom of Information Bill became an Act, is still not domesticated in Edo State.

She said the domestication of the FOIA in the state will enable citizens to hold the government of the day accountable to its citizens.

“The FOIA has been passed at the national level but in Edo State, it has not been domesticated.

“The Freedom of Information Act will place everyone on the same page and to know what the government is doing in Nigeria, what we need to know, the good effects of the governance, and what we also need to add to it if the government is not working well.

“Any society that is not informed, will be deformed. That is why this morning, we deemed it fit to come to this NUJ Press Centre to air our minds and views for you to lend your voice.

“That is why we have come to solicit that you should also lend your voice so that the Freedom of Information Act will be domesticated in Edo State”, Ojugo said.

Speaking also, the Policy and Governance Advocacy Officer ResearcherNG, Modupe Akinwale, said that if the FOIA is domesticated in the state, it will befit all, including the media practitioners.

“We are agitating for the domestication of the Freedom of Information Act.

“We started our campaign from the king square and we have also been to the state house of assembly where we had the Special Adviser to the speaker on Media advised us.

“We have also been asked to write them a letter and also sent draft bills for them to take action. So, as a leader when it comes to the media in Edo State, we are certain that you are in support of this advocacy as knowledge is power.

“And this is not a fight for the civil society organizations alone. It is a fight for all. Citizens and most especially, media organizations. As it also going to help them access information”, Akinwale said.

The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edo State Council, Comrade Festus Alenkhe commended the group for advocating for its domestication in the state, noting that when it is actually domesticated, it will promote transparency in governance.

Truth Live News Media reports that the FOI Bill was passed into law in May 28, 2011.

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