Labaran Maku, Others Seek Immediate Repeal of Official Secrets Act



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Nigeria’s Minister of Information ,Mr Labaran Maku and other stakeholders have called for the “immediate repeal of the Official Secrets Act”.This was part of the resolutions at the end of a one-day workshop on Freedom of Information Act 2011 held at NICON Luxury Hotel Abuja on Tuesday this week.

The workshop on FOIA was jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Information,the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation,and Nigeria Union of Journalists,NUJ.

The event which had the  theme “Openness in Governance: The FOI Act, 2011 In Perspective” was formally declared open by the Honourable Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku.It  was attended by the Chairman House Committee on Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Buba Jubril, the Attorney General of the Federation and Honourable Minister of Justice who was represented by Head of Special Duties, Mrs. Suwa, Honourable Minister of FCT, represented by the Special Assistant on Media, Mr.Nosike Ogbuenyi, Representative of the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Ezekeil Oyemomi,and the President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mallam Mohammed Garba, Honourable Commissioners including Ibim Semenitari ,information Commissioner,Rivers state and Mr  Danladi Umar Abdulhameed the Niger State Counterpart  and key officials of Ministries of Information across the country. Mr Frank Mba, spokesman of the Police headquarters was also at the event.A total of 386 participants attended the workshop.


According the communiqué released at the end of the workshop “The main objectives of the workshop were to enlighten participants on the provisions of the FOI Act, to enhance their capacity to deal with issues arising from and relating to the Act, and to create a conducive atmosphere for the realization of the objectives of the FOI Act.”

Related story:Maku Urges Stakeholders to Champion FOI at 43rd National Council on Information Meeting

Read the full text of the communiqué below:

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF A ONE-DAY WORKSHOP ON FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT, 2011 AT NICON LUXURY HOTEL, ABUJA ON TUESDAY, 11TH DECEMBER, 2012.

A.        PREAMBLE:

            A one-day workshop on Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011 was jointly organized by the Federal Ministry of Information, the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), at the NICON Luxury Hotel, Abuja on Tuesday 11th December, 2012.

The theme of the workshop was: “Openness in Governance: The FOI Act, 2011 In Perspective’.  The workshop which was formally declared open by the Honourable Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, was attended by the Chairman House Committee on Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Buba Jubril, the Attorney General of the Federation and Honourable Minister of Justice, ably represented by Head of Special Duties, Mrs. Suwa, Honourable Minister of FCT, represented by the Special Assistant on Media, Mr.Nosike Ogbuenyi, Representative of the Head of Service of the Federation, Dr. Ezekeil Oyemomi,and the President, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mallam Mohammed Garba, Honourable Commissioners and key officials of Ministries of Information across the country. A total of 386 participants attended the workshop.

The main objectives of the workshop were to enlighten participants on the provisions of the FOI Act, to enhance their capacity to deal with issues arising from and relating to the Act, and to create a conducive atmosphere for the realization of the objectives of the FOI Act.

B.        RESOLUTIONS:

After exhaustive deliberations, participants resolved as follows:

i)                    Commended the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan GCFR, for timely signing of the FOI Act.

ii)                  Access to information is key to ensuring accountability and transparency in governance.

iii)                Called for the immediate repeal of the Official Secrets Act.

iv)                The success of the FOI Act rests on the collective participation government officials, the private sector and the citizenry.

v)                  Ethical conduct and credibility of the media, media professionals and civil society would help strengthen the implementation of FOIA.

vi)                Government should ensure easy access of information devoid of bureaucratic bottlenecks, by providing practical and workable ways to enable citizens’ access relevant information.

vii)               Necessary budgetary support should be accorded all MDA’s to plan, evolve and arrange data into readily usable forms which may be sought by the public from time to time.

viii)             All tiers of government should be encouraged to join forces to guarantee the success of the FOI Act.

ix)                The office of the Attorney General of the Federation should as a matter of urgency clarify the matter of concurrent legislation with regards to the FOI Act.

x)                  Citizens should test the FOIA, as judicial interpretation will encourage improved application of the law.

xi)                 Noting the power of the media, it behoves journalist to play their critical watchdog role by educating and encouraging the use of the FOIA in reducing corruption and ensuring good governance.

xii)              Commended the Federal Ministry of Information, Office of the Attorney General of the Federation and the Nigeria Union of Journalists for organising the workshop.

COMMUNIQUE COMMITTEE MEMBERS

1.Hon. Commissioner of Information,

Niger State, Danladi Umar Abdulhameed     –           Chairman

2. Hon. Commissioner of Information,

Rivers State, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari                             –           Member

3. Olufela Oshunbiyi, Director,

Federal Ministry of Information, Abuja.                    –           Member

4.Shuaibu Leman, National Secretary,

Nigerian Union of Journalists                         –           Member

5. Rose Madu, Deputy Director,

Federal Ministry of Information, Abuja.                    –           Member

6.Oyetomi A. Olujimi, Deputy Director,

Federal Ministry of Information, Abuja.                    –           Member

7. Oru Christopher, Asst. Chief Infor. Officer,

Federal Ministry of Information, Abuja.                    –           Member


 


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