If We Implement the FOI Act, Corruption War Would Be A Thing Of The Past - Dr. Duru

Nigerians have been called upon to make us of the provisions of the Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act, 2011 to demand for accountability from public office holders thereby drastically eliminating corruption in the polity.

This call was made by Dr. Walter Duru at a two day programme for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) training on the the FOI Act 2011in Lagos.

Held on 14 and 15 November at  The Sojourner by Genesis hotel, GRA, Ikeja, the event sponsored by the European Union and the Bristish Council through the ROLAC programme featured  such topics as Duties and Obligations of Public Institutions under the FOI Act: CSO’s engagement; FOI Act and the Role of the Civil Society in Entrenching an Open Society in Nigeria; Using the Freedom of Information: Making Requests For Information under the Freedom of Information Act; Information Exempted from General Access under the FOI Act; Relevance of the FOI to Anti- Corruption in Nigeria/Lagos State etc.

Speaking to participants Dr. Duru who dwelt on the overview of the Freedom of Information Act said: “ The FOI is a citizens driven law and its cases are handled expeditiously. We all are to blame for the way the country is currently is today. We have not been making use of the FOI act to better our society. With the FOI act, corruptionmay not be completely eradicated but reduced to a barest minimum. It is the responsibility of every citizen to make use of this act to demand for accountability from government institutions. 

The FOI Act of 2011 was signed into law on May 28, 2011. It was passed to enable the public to access certain government information in order to ensure transparency and accountability. It gives every Nigerian a legal right of access to information, records and documents held by government bodies and private bodies bound by the law. And the essence is to make public officers accountable for their official actions. It was also established to take legal action to compel compliance and to enhance transparency in public administration. It is also to facilitate record keeping for public scrutiny and to promote a decent democratic society in addition to ensure citizen’s participation in governance.”

Continuing, Duru who is the Executive director, Media Initiative Against Injustice, Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC) added: “ Governments at all levels must be committed to FOIA implementation. Dest officers in public institutions must understand their roles and play them effectively. Citizens must take advantage of the act to hold government accountable. If properly implemented, the FOI Act can change the nation’s story of woes and entrench an era of good governance. All hands must be on deck!”

Also Mr. Ayode Longe of the Media Rights Agenda also lectured on other topical issues like the Supremacy of the FOI Act, Protection of Officials, Protection of Whistleblower, Training of Officials, Annual Reports,Role of the Attorney General, Record Keeping among many others.

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