CSOs Meet in Abuja to Strategize on Ensuring Effective Implementation of FOI Act

Over 100 civil society organizations (CSOs) from across the country working on issues relating to the Freedom of Information Act will hold a three-day meeting in Abuja from January 27 to 29, 2015 to discuss strategies for ensuring the effective implementation of the Act.

The Keynote Address at the meeting, organized by Media Rights Agenda (MRA), will be delivered by Mr. Augustine Alegeh (SAN), President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), while Mr. Kelechi Nwosu, President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), will also address the meeting as part of an effort to forge partnerships between professional bodies and CSOs in the implementation of the FOI Act.

The meeting is a follow-up to the first FOI Implementers’ Strategy Meeting held in Abuja in September 2013 and is aimed at finalizing the proposals discussed during the first meeting for ensuring greater coordination and collaboration, as well as information, experience and skills sharing and exchange in FOI implementation activities.

MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, said the meeting is expected to produce a blueprint for coordination and collaboration by CSOs in various parts of the country on freedom of information implementation activities.

He recalled that during the first Freedom of Information Implementers meeting held in September 2013, a committee was set up to propose a structure and operational framework for the Freedom of Information Coalition which was established in 2000 to coordinate the campaign for the Freedom of Information Bill into Law.

According to Mr. Ojo, the Committee subsequently submitted a report, incorporating a strategy document with recommendations on a series of steps to be taken and activities implemented to ensure the effective coordination and formal establishment of the FOI Coalition.

He said: “This follow-up meeting will provide a platform where the recommendations of the Committee will be discussed and validated, possibly with some modifications. It is also envisaged that the meeting will elect a steering committee to steer the affairs of the Coalition.”

The meeting is sponsored by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) II Project. The DGD II Project is a joint donor-funded project managed by UNDP in support of deepening democracy in Nigeria and is funded with contributions from the European Union, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Canada Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), and the UNDP.

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