FOI ACT: A veritable tool for Public Good

Edetaen Ojo the Executive Director of Media Right Agenda at a two day workshop organized for Civil Society Organizations from the South West states in Lagos stated that the overriding objective of the training is not for Civil Society organization to see the Freedom of Information Act as an instrument to witch-hunt government MDAs or agencies but as a Fundamental Human Right Law with Public institutions acting as custodian for the public good
Edetaen observed that by the provisions the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) expects that all public institutions will proactively provide information on the activities of the institution and where such information has not been proactively disclosed, such institution can be approached for the disclosure of such information.
Speaking further he stated that most of the challenges identified are the absence of Freedom of Information Unit in Public Institutions. The lack of critical understanding of the access to information Laws by Public officials and Citizens, poor documentation and record keeping process by Institutions.
Mojisola Akinsanya a participant from Ogun State stated that Civil Society Organizations’ were optimistic of a change in practice by effectively maximizing the opportunity presented to Civil Society organizations’ to constructively engage Institutions in supporting pro-active governance process. While, equally emphasizing the role of Policy Advocacy in engaging government Institutions without always resulting in legal redress.
Shaikh Busari a representative from Oyo State emphasized the role of Civil Society in ensuring that the communities are informed about the Freedom of Information Act as it serves as a veritable tool for ensuring the demand side of governance at all levels.
Equally, speaking with Cso Digest Tayo Elegbede a participant from Lagos emphasized the importance of social media in supporting the overriding role of Civil Society Organizations’ in ensuring wide spread dissemination of the Freedom of Information Act through the use of multi-media platforms like bulk sms, Twitter and Face-book in creating awareness for the usage of the Foi Act by Nigerians especially the Youthfully population.
Media Right Agenda is a non governmental organization with focus on freedom of expression, access to information and media development/persecutions.

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