The Freedom Of Information (FOI) Act of Nigeria, signed into law in. 2011 has been said to remain in obscruity.
The act which is a critical ingredients that distinguished democracy from dictatorship by defining the authenticity and vibrancy of democracy is said to be cooling off in shelves.
Dr. Temitope Olaifa of Stephanie Peacebuilding & Development Foundation (SPADEV) made this known recently during a 3day capacity building on Social Mobilisation and FOI Act Request for Citizens and Corruption Reporting for the Media in Lagos State, organized by ActionAid Nigeria under the SCRAP-C project.
Dr Olaifa was of the opinion that in a democracy settings,
citizens should have access to necessary information as world over the quest for open and transparent governments is on the increase and the story is no less in Nigeria since citizens now express more interest in public programs, projects, policies and the purse of the nation.
Adding that the provision of the FOI Act has become helpful since the Nigerian 1999 constitution does not specify how information should flow from public offices to the populace hence the Act should be leverage on in order to effectively engage public institutions.
According to her, the Act is helpful in making public records and information mire freely available while providing for public access to public records and information. The Act, she said did not only protect public records and information but with the public interest and protection of personal privacy, while protecting serving public officers from. Adverse consequences for disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorization by establishing procedures for the achievement of those purpose and other related matters.
She however urged citizens to know about the existence of the legal framework backing their right to information of what goes on in the government corridors as citizen’s awareness of their rights within a democracy settings will make government more vibrant and inclusive.