FOI Act: Desk Officers debate setting up online platform

By sdnonline

As part of efforts to ensure the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011, Desk Officers from various federal public institutions will meet at a two-day workshop in Abuja.

The programme which commences on February 1 – 2, 2022 will discuss the establishment of an online FOI Platform to enable the desk officers share information, ideas and experiences.

The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN), will deliver the keynote address at the workshop, which will also have in attendance, the National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in Nigeria, Dr Gloria Ahmed, who is also the Director of Special Duties at the Federal Ministry of Budget and National Planning, as well as Mr. Gowon Ichibor, the Head of the FOI Unit at the Federal Ministry of Justice.

The workshop, which will have representatives from over 60 public institutions, is being organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) in collaboration with Media Rights Agenda (MRA)) and the FOI Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice. It is funded by by the European Union (EU) under component 4b: Support to Media of the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) Project.

According to the organisations, the overall objective of the workshop is to improve compliance by public institutions with their duties and obligations under the FOI Act, as well as to ensure more effective implementation of the Act through the creation of an interactive online platform for FOI Desk Officers of public institutions to enable them share good practices and learn from each other’s experiences as they oversee implementation by their respective institutions.

Mr. Lanre Arogundade, IPC’s Executive Director, noted that “The creation of an online platform, in addition to facilitating shared learning, experience sharing and best practice application in the implementation of the FOI Act, will also provide an opportunity for FOI Desk Officers of public institutions to be updated with the latest developments on freedom of information, and facilitate collaborative resolution of challenges.”

MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, who is also a member of the National Steering Committee (NSC) of the OGP in Nigeria, said “We strongly believe that this initiative, which is starting with this workshop, and will be followed by other activities, will lead to significant improvements in the implementation of the FOI Act thus contributing to the fulfillment of Nigeria’s commitments in its OGP National Action Plan regarding improved compliance with the FOI Act.”

Climate change: FishNet Alliance reiterates commitment to support Makoko Fishermen

By Sdnonline

FishNet Alliance has reiterated commitment in working towards addressing the challenges being faced by fishermen.

Nigeria’s renowned Environmental activist and the Director of Health of Mother Health Foundation (HOMEF), Dr. Nnimmo Bassey made this known during a visit to Makoko, a Lagos fishing community and Nigeria’s largest informal settlement, alongside some prominent fishermen from Senegal; Ibrahim Thiam from Rosa Luxemberg Foundation-West Africa, Cheikh Faded Wade, Adama Faye and Demba Diatta who are members of the FishNet Alliance.

Bassey, who noted that climate change has made fishing difficult in recent times, stressed that the situation is the same in different parts of the country and the world at large.

He stressed that FishNet Alliance, as an Africa-wide network of fishers engaged in and promoting sustainable fishing in line with ecosystem limits, is committed to providing the needed support to address the challenges that fishermen are faced with.

“Fishing is becoming more difficult especially for those whose livelihoods depend on it. As a result of climate change, the ocean is becoming more salty thereby making fishing more difficult and some areas where construction works of huge buildings are taking place have also contributed to this problem,” he said.

The famed environmentalist thereafter noted that one of the ways is to create awareness for people who are into fishing to let them know they are not alone in this. “There would be a need to increase the number of memberships in the group giving opportunity for other fishermen to join, visit other places and create awareness of what FishNet Alliance offers its members especially on welfare matters.”

Also addressing the fishermen, Ibrahim Thiam, a representative from Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, corroborated that the fishermen community in Senegal also face similar challenges because majority of the people take fishing as a profession and now, they are faced with challenges of making ends meet.

The delegates also visited the Better Life Fish Market at Makoko to interact with fisher women and other traders.

Coordinator of FishNet Alliance in Lagos, Apostle Akintimehin Claudius, while speaking at the meeting, expressed his gratitude to Dr. Bassey, the Executive Director of CEE-HOPE Nigeria, Ms. Betty Abah and guests from Senegal for finding it worthy to come to their aid at a time like this.