The Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Dr Mansur Liman has said it has now become expedient for Journalists to familiarize themselves with the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) to enable them demand for transparency and good governance for the people.
Dr Liman who stated this during the FRCN’s roundtable discussion on FOI in Abuja, maintained that the essence of the training was also to equip staff with relevant tool to find new ways of demanding information from relevant authorities and improve their investigative reporting skills.
“For us journalists, I think it’s not wrong for me to say Journalists we’re at the forefront in making sure that the FOI in 2011 was accented to and became an Act.
Therefore it’s a tool for us as journalists to demand for relevant information especially when it comes to investigative Journalism in our jobs.
It helps in engendering accountability and good governance in the workings of the government.”
The FRCN Director General said the training on FOI couldn’t have come at a better time with the inauguration of the new ministers who have been charged by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu to promote transparency and accountability in governance.
According to Dr Liman, it now behooves on the staff to be enlightened on how to respond to demand for information from people in line with the provisions of the FOI.
“Government of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has inaugurated the ministers and he has charged them of transparency and accountability therefore this training couldn’t have come at a better time to creative awareness within our staff on how to demand for information from Organisation and how actually to respond to information that are demanded from us because we too as an organization are under this Act and are subject to it.” He added.
On his part, the FOIA National Coordinator at the Ministry of Justice, Ayobamidele Bakare explained that it was the right of Journalists to demand for information from public servants as stated out in Section 2(3) a-f mandating them to be published on their website.
Mr Bakare however expressed worry that some Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) have blatantly refused to comply with the provisions of the FOI by withholding information upon request.
The FOI is aimed at making public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, protect public records and information in line with public interest and protection of personal privacy.