OrderPaperToday – Media Rights Agenda (MRA) today inducted the Bank of Industry (BoI) into its Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame.
The MRA accused the Bank of “shrouding its operations in secrecy while completely disregarding its duties and obligations under the FOI Act, 2011.”
In a statement released in Lagos, Mr. Idowu Adewale, MRA’s Programme Officer, claimed that the Bank had deliberately refused, neglected or failed to comply with any of its obligations under the FOI Act over the last seven years thereby shielding itself from public scrutiny and depriving Nigerians of their right to access information about its activities, businesses and operations.
He said: “The Bank of Industry is strategically placed and its management has the golden opportunity to stimulate industrial development in Nigeria. One of the ways it can effectively do this is by building public trust and confidence in the institution if it chooses to be transparent and accountable. But it has instead chosen to cast doubts and suspicion over its activities by refusing to comply with its obligations under the FOI Act.”
“The Bank has refused to publish and disseminate important categories of information, documents and records that Section 2(3) and (4) of the Act specifically requires it to publish and disseminate widely in various forms. These include a list of all classes of records under its control in sufficient detail to facilitate the exercise of the right to information under the Act; documents containing final planning policies, recommendations and decisions; documents containing information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds of the institution; and documents containing the names, salaries, titles and dates of employment of all employees and officers of the institution.”
Speaking further, Adewale noted that BOI had neither designated an FOI Desk Officer nor disseminated the title and address of such an officer of the institution to whom applications for information under the Act should be sent.
He added that “for seven consecutive years since the coming into force of the FOI Act, BoI has consistently defaulted in submitting to the Attorney-General of the Federation any report on its implementation of the Act while also failing to make any such report available to the public.”
Adewale stressed that the institution’s failure to submit its FOI implementation reports has made it difficult to correctly assess its level of responsiveness to requests for information made to it by the public.
He concluded by calling on relevant oversight agencies to rise up to their duty of ensuring the implementation and enforcement of the FOI by BoI and other institutions captured under the Act.