BPSR wins 2020 National Freedom of Information

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The Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), have emerged winner of the National Freedom of Information (FOI), having scored a total of 58.75 percent, topping other runners-up in the contest.

This was made known in a statement by Dasuki Arabi, Director General, BPSR, on Monday in Abuja.

Mr. Arabi stated that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2011 was introduced in Nigeria to align the country with the best practice in line with the new democratic order.

He added that the FOIA empowers citizen with the right to information, and mandate public institutions to be accountable by ways of keeping record of their activities, operations and business.

Arabi said that as part of machineries to ensure compliance of Ministries, Department and Agencies to the FOIA of 2011, the national FOI ranking was introduced in 2014, to examine annually the level of performance and compliance to FOIA by MDAs.

”The exercise is normally conducted by Independent bodies of Civil Society Organiations using various parameters for assessment, amongst which includes;

”Number of FOI training undertaken during the period under review, Responsiveness to request for information and level of discloseness.

According to Arabi, 2020 National FOI ranking featured 213 MDAs, and that only about 20 percent of the number actually responded to the FOIA request raised by CSOs.

He said that criterias were used to evaluate the agencies including; proactive disclosure, details of level of disclosure, prompt responses, Number FOI training, details of desk officers on FOI, and publication of annual reports.

He added that six NGOs were involved in the evaluation namely; International centres for investigating reporting (ICIR), Basic Rights watch, Media Rights Agenda, Right to know(r2k), budgiT and Public private develop centre(PPDC).

Representative of the Honorable Minister of Justice, Mr Abiodun Aikhomu, Special Adviser to the President on Economi Crimes, stated that the event coincided the same date with the International year to Access to Information, and was an indication that Nigeria was on the path to transparency in governance.

Aikhomu enjoyed all government agencies to remain stead fast in compliance to the FOIA Act,as it remains the gateway to entrench accountability and transparency in governance.

He added that Nigeria’s signing into the Open Government Partnership (OGP) was part of government commitments to strengthen institutions for accountability and transparency.