Cross River govt pledges commitment to domestication of FOIA
By Joseph Ephriam
Cross River State Government has pledged her commitment to see through the domestication of the Freedom of Information Act for proper use and application in the state.
Cross River State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Tanko Ashang, who was represented by Kanu Ubio, Director Planning, Research and Statistics, Ministry of Justice made the commitment in his remark at the two day capacity building training workshop for select stakeholders in Cross River State and beyond.
His words, “By this workshop today, we will meet with the necessary body which is the House of Assembly in order to fast track the passage of the law so that we’ll have a working document in the state.”
He said the law will be concurrent to the federal law but it will have perculiarities as it concerns the state because it must be in tandem with what is prevalent in the state.
“The role of Ministry of Justice in the state is to ensure that the Act is implemented and enforced in the right way as it is obtainable in the national”, he said.
The capacity building workshop is a collaboration of the civil society, Connected Development (CODE) and OXFAM in the implementation of the projects namely; Power of Voices Partnership (PVP) and Fiscal Accountability for Inequality Reduction (FAIR).
PVP-F4A project is aimed at advocating for transparency, accountable and transformative development for marginalized communities by Influencing policy debates and other initiatives to ensure sustained and judicious management of revenues while promoting accountability.
The organizers explained that project which commence in 2021, has been carrying out the sensitization workshop in six States which include, Delta, Imo, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Rivers and FCT.
The capacity workshop tagged “Effective advocacy and mainstreaming of FOIA”, had participants cutting across different sectors from the six States.
Deputy Leader of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Aniefiok Denis who participated, noted that the workshop is quite insightful and interactive, even as he also pledged to fast track the domestication of FOI Act in his state.
Again, the Senior special assistance to Governor of Delta State on Civic engagement and Civil society, Activist Rex Anighoro, added that the workshop is to create a synergy to help government serve the people better and the people understand the government better and that becomes equilibrium for the greater good of the citizens.
Programs Manager, Connected Development, CODE, Kinsley Agu maintained that transparency and accountability are critical for the efficient functioning of government, and for fostering social well-being.
According to him, “In expanding the Civic space, you have to give access to information to citizens where ever they may find themselves.
The FOI Act is one of the greatest instrument at achieving that, in fact when you look at FOI Act, there are sections and subsections that clearly states that any documents that makes you not have access to information will either be amended or thrashed. The FOI is important in that it guarantee access to information to citizens.”