October 20, 2018

FG sets December 2018 deadline for MDAs to comply with FOI Act


President Muhammadu Buhari

By Michael Eboh & Tochukwu Maxwell

The Federal Government has set a December 2018 deadline for all ministries, departments and agencies, MDA, of government to publish information as required by the Freedom of Information, FOI, Act.

President Muhammadu Buhari

In a presentation made available to Vanguard, yesterday, Special Adviser to the President on Justice Reform and National Coordinator of Open Government Partnership, OGP, Mrs. Juliet Ibekaku–Nwagwu, said the Federal Ministry of Justice would be issuing a circular to the MDAs in that regard.

In the presentation made at the Lunchtime seminar on Open Government Partnership, OGP, organised by the Bureau for Public Service Reforms, BPSR and the Public and Private Development Centre, PPDC,  Ibekaku–Nwagwu further stated that the circular would also mandate the MDAs to publish all responses to recurrent FOI request on their functional website.

She declared that was in respect with the principles of the OGP, while she added that in Nigeria’s implementation of the National Action Plan, a memo was initiated to institutionalise the OGP into Government operations.

“Government has approved a the creation of Open Government Partnership Principles Implementation Units in all MDAs to be domiciled in the Department of Reform Coordination  and Service Improvement while the names of Heads of the Units will be forwarded to the OGP Secretariat,” she noted.

Ibekaku–Nwagwu disclosed that open government proposes a new model of state reform and modernization of public administration to improve the value to the public of the delivery of public services in an equal and reciprocal manner.

She argued that it was based on an innovative way of coordinating transparency initiatives, citizen participation, and stakeholder collaboration.

She said, “The membership process requires that government shall in conjunction with non-state actors develop an Action Plan that will provide a roadmap to the implementation of OGP principles and address relevant challenges that seek to: increase the level of transparency and accountability; expand effective mechanisms for citizen participation, and develop innovative platforms for civic collaboration in order to co-produce public value in the planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of public policies and services.

“The above requires that both the public sector and non-state actors should familiarise themselves with the key principles and processes that will enable the establishment of  a framework to facilitate the achievement of the Open government goals.