Awka-A one-day stakeholders’ workshop on evaluating the application of Freedom of Information (FOI) Act and its impact on National Development has been organised by National Orientation Agency (NOA), Directorate in Awka.
The programme, which took place at the Traditional Rulers’ Hall, Awka South Local Government Area, played host to individuals from different walks of life and stakeholders from various government agencies.
Anambra State Director of NOA, Mr Charles Nwoji in his address, said that the FOI Act was passed into law by the National Assembly in 2011.
“The Act allows citizens of Federal Republic of Nigeria to have unfettered access to information from any public institution.’’
“The rationale behind the FOI Act includes: ensuring that the citizens and public participate in government; opening the business of governance to public scrutiny and adherence to laid down procedures in the conduct of public affairs.
“Others are, stemming corruption and untoward practices in the system of government and Institutionalising transparency and accountability in governance.’’
Chairman, Civil Society of Nigeria, Anambra State Chapter, Mr Chris Azor explained Information as the stimulus of all the thoughts and actions of living creatures.
He said that FOI was a right of every citizen to access information in the custody of government officials and institutions.
“Information is integrity, which is central to human existence and FOI is the sunshine of the law, which breeds good governance and good business.
“It improves proper record-keeping in public institutions as well as enabling community members to know what budgetary allocations are made for the maintenance or provision of facilities in their various communities.’’
He urged Nigerians to embrace application of the FOI act in their daily affairs as this would foster government accountability, improve respect for human rights, democratic participation as well as expose and silence corruption in the system of government.
State Chairman of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Emmanuel Ifesinachi said that the citizenry needed to get proper sensitisation on the workability of FOI as such would foster good governance at various levels of governance.
Secretary, Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Anambra State, Mr Emmanuel Udeagha stressed challenges of secrecy and other obstacles encountered by journalists in the discharge of their duties, urging all and sundry to comply with the FOI Act.
Mr Charles Ekwunife from the Public Complaints Commission noted that citizens in a democratic government need to be constantly informed about governance, government activities and policies to promote peace and progress in the country.
He encouraged NOA members of staff not to relent in their efforts and good works irrespective of obstacles they might encounter in the discharge of their duties.
Source: Anambra State Government