A delegate to the National Conference presently taking place in Abuja, Mr. Rommy Mom, has called on the Conference to promote the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act as a tool to fight corruption.
Mom, who is the President of the non-governmental organisation, Lawyers Alert, made this call at the Conference on issues of open governance, accountability and the Nigerian FOI Law. He suggested that the nation should find ways to make the FOI Act work, explaining that “except we find a way of making it work, then we are simply encouraging corruption.”
He complained that 95 percent of cases where civil society organisations and spirited members of the public make requests seeking information, they are denied for flimsy reasons emphasizing that when information is denied, corruption is enhanced.
Mom noted that: “one of the important things the administration has done is to bring about the FOI Act” and wonders why the Nigerian government is not accountable to its citizens. According to him, the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation has done little or nothing to see to the compliance of this important law that is capable of reducing corruption in the country. He identified corruption as the possible reason why “we have a lot of cash spreading around today”.
In further reference to the fundamental principles of governance and socio-economic and cultural rights contained in chapter two of the Nigerian constitution, Mom opined that if such rights are enforced then “there will be less money to be misappropriated and used in manners that are not right”.