Foreign Affairs Ministry inducted into FOI Hall of Shame

OrderPaperToday- The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has announced the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as its latest inductee into the Freedom of Information (FOI) “Hall of Shame.”

In a statement released in Lagos today, Chioma Nwaodike, the Legal Officer at Media Rights Agenda (MRA), accused the Ministry of ignoring its responsibilities under the FOI Act for most of the past seven years.

Nwaodike stressed that the Ministry has failed to comply with its proactive publication obligations under Section 2 of the Act, which requires all public institutions covered by the Act to publish and periodically update certain categories of information, including its website.

She added that the ministry has also refused to comply with the provisions of Section 13 of the FOI Act, which mandates the institution to organise training for its staff and officials to sensitise them on the implementation of the Act.

Furthermore, the MRA’s Legal Officer stated that from available records, the Ministry has only submitted its annual report on its implementation of the FOI Act to the Attorney-General of the Federation once in the last seven years, in the year 2013.

She described it as “unfortunate, the fact that the Federal Government ministry responsible for the external promotion of Nigeria’s domestic vision and ideals and charged with boosting international awareness about all aspects of Nigeria, including its economic potential and the business opportunities available in the country, and which is likely to be the first point of contact for most foreigners from all parts of the world seeking information about Nigeria, has not instituted mechanisms for responding to information requests from Nigerians and non-Nigerians alike, despite the express provision of the FOI Act, which imposes an obligation on it to do so.”

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