By OSENI YUSUF, Ibadan
The National Orientation Agency (NOA) Oyo State has held a stakeholders and citizens engagement on evaluating the application of the Freedom Of Information Act and it’s impact on National Development held Friday March 6, 2020 at the agency’s office in Ibadan, the state capital.
Speaking to newsmen, the Director of NOA, Mrs Dolapo Dosunmu said, the event is all about civic engagement calling together citizens and stakeholders to keep abreast of the FOI Act and it’s important to national development.
The freedom of information Act is generally seen as press law, whereas the law provides equal rights of access to public information and records to every citizens regardless of profession, vocation, gender, religion or tribe.
The federal government has also strengthened this with the whistleblowing policy which in addition to protecting whistleblower also provides for monetary compensation for information that leads to recovery of looted public fund.
Dosunmu further stated that, the National Orientation Agency has since 2013 being consistently engaged in the general public on key provisions of the FOI Act and how they could use the law to promote good governance. Specially, the Agency’s awareness creation and sensitization drive on the FOI Act covered all the local governments and political wards in Nigeria.
In a related development, the Oyo State Commissioner of Information, Hon. Olatunbosun Wasiu said, the state government is involving in a lot of sensitization in all areas of communication, using the Mass media, Media engagement, Social media platforms and Community engagement.
“Right now, our staff are out their going to the market using public address system about Coronavirus. We live and thrive in information, we believe any society that fails to give correct information, you are creating room for rumour to thrive and such society is born to doom”
Information on Oyo state government can be accessed through the ministry to information medium with a close collaboration of the executive and the legislature.
A speaker at the event, Tirenioluwa Ibitoye of Paradigm Leadership Support Initiative said, People don’t know about FOI Act. They need to ask questions from there representatives. Without your vote, they are going nowhere.
For accountability sake, our organization tracks and monitors Community projects. We also encourage citizens to keep asking questions through letter writing, which is one of the easiest way to access information.
To know about Coronavirus using Freedom Of Information Act, address your letter to the ministry of health and do a follow-up. We also assist individual follow up on information requested from government agencies.