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Experts highlight importance of Freedom of Information

Kwara State Director of NOA, Mr Olusegun Adeyemi addressing participants at a symposium in Ilorin, Kwara State. Photo: Abdulrazaq Bello RN.

Stakeholders have advocated the sincere implementation of the Freedom of Information, FOI Act and Open Government Partnership, OGP.

This formed part of the outcome of a one day symposium organised by the National Orientation Agency, NOA in Ilorin the Kwara State capital.

In an opening address, the Kwara State Director of the NOA, Mr Olusegun Adeyemi described implementation of the FoI Act as a two way thing because if people do not ask questions government or private agencies concerned can not provide answers.

Mr Adeyemi said that the NOA had in the last nine years be in the fore front of mobilizing relevant bodies and citizens to take advantage of access to information and the need for Ministries Departments and Agencies including the private sector to be proactive in providing information to those who need it.

The deputy director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr Adeolu Otepola observed that the Freedom of Information Act, FoI Act and Open Government Partnership, OGP places Nigeria in the front burner of good governance.

Mr Otepola charged desk officers saddled with the task of providing information to the public to carry out their duties diligently while imploring citizens to avoid unnecessary criticism.

The Kwara State Commissioner for Communication, Alhaji Murtala Olanrewaju represented by Deputy Director Public Orientation, Mrs Christiana Ashonibare said proper implementation of FoI Act has a lot of benefits such as transparency, interaction between government and the governed and confidence building on those in public office.

In a remark, the convener of Civil Society organisations on OGP, Comrade Abdulrahman Ayuba implored the Kwara State Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to sign the FoI Act as key into the OGP stressing that some states across the federation that have signed into the program are already taking advantage of the initiative.

The NOA stakeholders engagement with the theme “Evaluating the Application of Freedom of Information Act and its Impact on National Development ” had in attendance MDAs from federal and state level, para-military, NGO and the media.

Abdulrazaq Bello, Ilorin

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