CSOs to strategize on effective implementation of FOI Act

IN order to come up with strategies that will ensure effective implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, Over 100 civil society organizations (CSOs) from across the country working on issues relating to the freedom of information will hold a three-day meeting in Abuja from January 27 to 29, 2015.

   Put together by Media Rights Agenda (MRA), the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), will deliver the keynote address while the President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Mr. Kelechi Nwosu, will also address the meeting as part of an effort to forge partnerships between professional bodies and CSOs in the implementation of the FOI Act.

  In a release by the Programme Manager, Media Rights Agenda, (MRA) Ayode Longe, the meeting, a follow-up to the first FOI Implementers’ Strategy Meeting held in Abuja in September 2013, is aimed at finalizing the proposals discussed during the first meeting, ensuring greater coordination and collaboration, as well as information, experience and skills sharing and exchange in FOI implementation activities.

The Executive Director, MRA, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, said the meeting is expected to produce a blueprint for coordination and collaboration by CSOs in various parts of the country on freedom of information implementation activities.

   He recalled that during the first Freedom of Information Implementers meeting held in September 2013, a committee was set up to propose a structure and operational framework for the Freedom of Information Coalition which was established in 2000 to coordinate the campaign for the Freedom of Information Bill into Law. 

   According to Mr. Ojo, the Committee subsequently submitted a report, incorporating a strategy document with recommendations on a series of steps to be taken and activities implemented to ensure the effective coordination and formal establishment of the FOI Coalition.

   He said: “This follow-up meeting will provide a platform where the recommendations of the Committee will be discussed and validated, possibly with some modifications. It is also envisaged that the meeting will elect a steering committee to steer the affairs of the Coalition.”

  The meeting is sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) II Project. The DGD II Project is a joint donor-funded project managed by UNDP in support of deepening democracy in Nigeria and is funded with contributions from the European Union, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Canada Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), and the UNDP.

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