Media Rights Agenda has kicked off its 3 day Freedom of Information (FOI) Implementers’ Strategy meeting in Abuja. The meeting which commenced yesterday 27th January 2015, will be concluded on 29th. This meeting is in collaboration with European Union, UKAID, Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada and UNDP.
Professionals from various field of endeavours such as legal practitioners, media practitioners, and most importantly CSOs which engage in FOI work in Nigeria as well as relevant stakeholders were in attendance to agree on framework for coordination and collaboration. They equally shared and expressed the importance of FOI in their various strata.
Panel discussion at the meeting on the effectiveness of FOI particularly within the CSOs/NGOs circle. These panelists comprise Experts from various CSOs, CBOs, Media Agencies across the country.
Ms Sembe, CEO PPDC, said PPDC has been on the vanguard of distributing the FOI, this is with aim to get even a man on a street to understand how FOI works and its importance to every Nigerian citizen.
Mamoud Yusuf, Programme Assistant, Law Clinic, gave a vivid overview of how Law Clinic has helped in handling some critical issues that has to do with students and governments through the effective use of FOI act.
Mr Babayemi, Monitoring and Evaluation Expert, CODE, gave comprehensive analysis of how FOI has being a vital tool and viable framework within which CODE has worked since its inception. “FOI is one important template for what we do at CODE. It has helped expedite the rate at which we gather information, although we do encounter some hiccups while sourcing of data particularly from public offices”, he said.
Mrs Nkem, Programme Manager, PPDC equally gave a brief presentation of how PPDC as an organisation had used FOI act to promote transparency and accountability particularly in the public sector. We have trained various CSOs/ NGOs across the country on FOI related topics so as to deepen their understanding, she alluded.