Abuja, August 3, 2017: The Right to Know (R2K), Nigeria and the Federal Ministry of Justice (FMOJ) today unveiled a restructured website with a Freedom of Information (FOI) Web Portal for the Ministry. The event, which was presided over by the Honourable Minister and Attorney General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, was held at the Minister’s Conference Room, Federal Secretariat. The FOI Portal serves as a relevant technological tool for the Ministry of Justice to optimise proactive information disclosure; and facilitates the ease of anyone submitting electronic FOI request through the institution’s website.
The Ministry of Justice is the 3rd Public institution in Nigeria R2K is partnering with the support of MacArthur Foundation that now has a dedicated electronic Freedom of Information Portal on a standard website out of about 800 MDA’s in Nigeria; the others are: Bureau for Public Service Reform (BPSR) in March 2016; Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) in January 2017.
While handing over the Portal to the Honourable Minister himself, the National Coordinator of Right To Know (R2K), Nigeria, Mrs Ene Nwankpa recognised the unique statutory function of the Ministry in the FOI Act and said “It has become very important, due to the abysmally low and worrisome level of implementation and compliance with the provisions of the FOI Act 2011 by the MDA’s, to harness the benefits of information technology to innovatively advance access to information and Open Government in the country and expand progressive implementation and compliance with the FOI Act now operationally strengthened by the Executive Orders aimed at opening up government signed by the Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, (SAN).
In his reaction, the Honourable Minister, Mr Abubakar Malami, (SAN) said “his Office has performed its statutory functions for the past 6 years; stating that the Federal Ministry of Justice as the focal Ministry with oversight responsibility for the implementation of the Act, has been taking measures to encourage Public Institutions to implement the Act.” He also stated that “pursuant to the realisation and spirit of the FOIA, the Ministry serves as the FOI ombudsman to resolve non-compliance complaints by impressing it on MDA’s to respond to FOI requests’’
Concluding with her hand over, Mrs. Nwankpa called on relevant demand stakeholders to monitor and report on the implementation and success or otherwise of these FOI Portals so far developed as well as the executive orders as part of strengthening access to information, transparency and accountability in public service in the country
Encouraged members of the public to take full advantage of the FOI Portals of the respective institutions and mobilise demand for their use.