The Permanent Secretary of Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Dr. Folasade Yemi Esan has advised that persons and bodies making requests based on Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) should take peculiarities of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) into consideration so as to enable such requests be properly addressed.
Dr. Folasade Yemi Esan represented the Honourable Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu to receive members of the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) who sought to know their requests based on Freedom of Information Act were not addressed.
The Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) was represented by Samuel Offia, the Desk Officer of FOI and Margaret Lawrence Azubike, the Programme Officer of the Non-Government Organization.
The visiting members of PPDC pressed that by the very FOI Act there should be response from the Ministry of Petroleum Resources on the budgetary expenses being made.
In reply to that, the Permanent Secretary said her Ministry has no problem responding to any request as it is an open Ministry. She said, “It is an established tradition of her Ministry to acknowledge and respond to requests but could not respond to many of the requests from PPDC because of the templates accompanying the PPDC’s FOIA requests were not relevant to her Ministry’s activities. “The template makes it impossible for the Ministry to respond.” She said, each MDA has its peculiarities and that Ministry of Petroleum Resources is a programme-based Ministry rather than a procurement-based entity.
Dr. Yemi Esan advised that FOI enquiries of her Ministry must be in tandem with the activities of the Ministry. “One of your FOI requests which I saw, came with a template which makes demand not relevant to what we do”, she said.
She further advised that most of the requests being referred to were not addressed to the right place in the Ministry which is the Office of the Permanent Secretary. She advised that PPDC should be guided by the Budget approved for the Ministry when they are making their inquiries.
21st May, 2019.