The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) has emerged first out of 213 Ministries Department and Agencies (MDAs) ranking on access to Freedom of Information (FIO) compliance.
This is contained in a report formally released on Tuesday by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Right 2 Know (R2K) and other development partners.
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The report shows that NIPC emerged winner with 68.5 points; Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) came second with 60.5 points; National Orientation Agency (NOA) came third with 51 points; Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) came fourth with 48.5 points while Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) came 5th with 47.75 points out of the 213 MDAs that were accessed.
Unavailing the report, a Senior Legal Officer who was part of the drafting of the FOI Act, Maxwell Kadiri said a law is as good as having the political will to implement it.
He said the gaps in the FOI is lack of having a specific guide to push for its compliance.
You can have a commission to push for the implementation of the law, but if there is no political will, nothing can happen,” Kadiri said of the FOI and why the MDAs are not granting request for information concerning their activities.
He said the Ministry of Justice has been issuing guidelines on how the MDAS can adhere to the FOI request but that almost 10 years, institutions are not complying with the Attorney General office’s guideline on information disclosure.
He said that Article 9 of the African Charter makes it mandatory for access to information.
Also speaking, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of PPDC, Gift Maxwell, said, to ensure compliance with the provisions of the Act, in 2013 her organisation launched the first Freedom of Information Act Compliance and Transparency Rankings.
She said that in 2019, a FOI Ranking cohort was formed which is currently made up of Basic Rights Watch (BRW), Budgit, The International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Right to Know (R2K) and the PPDC.
She said, “This year, 213 public and security sector institutions were ranked. These rankings are not in any way meant to tarnish the reputation of any institution, rather it is aimed at encouraging all public institutions to comply with provisions of the Freedom of Information Act by improving their disclosure practices to improve citizen participation.”
An Assistant Director with NIPC, Sabo Isiaku, said that in 2019 and 2020 NIPC took second in the ranking and that that they are happy to emerge the best in 2021, which he attributed to the commitment and diligence of NIPC management.