National Coordinator of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Advocates for Enhanced Access to Information in Nigeria

Abuja, Nigeria -
The National Coordinator of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) reaffirmed the critical importance of access to information within the OGP framework during a recent One-Day Sensitization Workshop on the Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act (2011) in Nigeria.

While addressing participants as a Special Guest at the workshop held in Abuja recently, she emphasized the integral role of access to information, highlighting its recurrent inclusion as a resounding theme in OGP National Action Plans 1, 2, and the current NAP 3.

Over the years, the concerted efforts of OGP reformers and stakeholders have led to significant strides in implementing FOIA commitments outlined in these action plans, resulting in increased compliance with the Act. The National Coordinator acknowledged the role of past OGP initiatives in raising awareness among Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) and enhancing compliance levels.

Mrs. Obialunanma NNaobi-Ayodele, Co-Chair of Non-state Actors, OGP, resonated in her goodwill message, underscoring the significance of OGP's commitments since 2017 to improving compliance among public institutions. These commitments reflect the OGP's steadfast dedication to promoting access to information as a fundamental aspect of governance.

During the workshop, Mr. Dasuki Arabi, Director-General of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms, emphasized the transformative potential of active citizen engagement and access to information in democratic societies. He portrayed the Freedom of Information Act not merely as legislation but as a cornerstone of democracy, empowering citizens with fundamental rights.

However, challenges such as invoking the Oath of Secrecy to withhold information, non-adherence to proactive disclosure rules, bureaucratic bottlenecks, and citizen awareness gaps continue to impede effective implementation of the FOIA. The National Coordinator highlighted the pressing need for collaboration among stakeholders to navigate these obstacles and advance the FOIA's objectives.

In her words, "The Freedom of Information Act represents a fundamental pillar of democracy, granting citizens access to information held by public authorities, effective implementation of the Act necessitates robust collaboration among all stakeholders, including government."

The workshop concluded with a renewed commitment from participants to work collaboratively towards overcoming challenges and advancing transparency, accountability, and good governance in Nigeria. 

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