The leadership of the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) on Monday accused the National Commission of Museums and Monuments (NCMM) of working round the clock to frustrate the public right of access to information as well as its statutory duties and obligations under the Freedom of Information Act.
In a statement made available to DAILY POST in Taraba State, the MRA’s Programme Director, Ayode Longe, said “the situation with NCMM) is truly a national scandal and represents everything that is wrong in Nigeria. ”
Such conduct by a public institution, “making a mockery of the federal government’s claim to transparent and accountable governance” he said serves only to bring the government into disrepute.
A few weeks ago, the Commission was said to have written to the international centre for investigative reporting (ICIR)in Abuja demanding N200,00 to respond to the ICIR’s FOI request for a list of projects implemented in the Commission.
”A Commission which ought to be actively “trying to attract tourists, historians, archaeologists scientists and students among others by proactively providing them with information is the one operating the most abysmal information and communication practices,” Longe said.
Longe said not only has its institutional website been down and inaccessible for at least several weeks now” but has also ” refused to provide information to those who have made requests for information under the FOI Act .”
He also noted that in 2017, when another non-governmental organization, Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), made a request to the Commission under the FOI Act on its public finance expenditure records, it took the Commission over 60 days to respond to the application, although the Act requires it to do so within seven days.
“Over the last 10 years since the FOI Act came into force, the Commission” according to him “has deliberately breached or disregarded every responsibility legally on imposed on it by the Act as it has consistently refused to submit an annual report to the Attorney-General of the Federation for 10 years.”
He said the Commission failed to designate an FOI Desk Officer, spurned the mandatory requirement for it to proactively publish 16 categories of information; neglected to provide appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information, among other infractions.”
He said despite the mandatory provisions of Section 13 of the FOI Act, the Commission has not provided appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right to access to information or for the effective implementation of the Act over the last 10 years as required by the Law.
The Commission in question was said to have been established by the Federal Government in 1979 to manage the collection, documentation, conservation and presentation of the national cultural properties to the public for education, enlightenment and entertainment.
#EndSARS anniversary: Police Occupy Lekki Toll Gate, Others, Activists Set For Protest [PHOTOS]
There are strong indications that security agents and protesters will clash in many cities across the country today (Wednesday) as activists and youths insist on gathering in public spaces to commemorate the first year anniversary of the #EndSARS protests, which rocked the nation last year.
For instance, heavily armed police personnel, on Tuesday, took over the Lekki tollgate area, which was the hotbed of last year’s protests.
The PUNCH also learnt that some policemen in plain clothes would join the protesters in a bid to monitor them closely.
DPR, PPPRA, PEF Scrapped As FG Sacks CEOs, Inaugurates New Agencies
The Department of Petroleum Resources, the Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency and the Petroleum Equalisation Fund are all officially scrapped and do not exist anymore, the Federal Government said on Monday.
It also said while workers of the three agencies would be protected, their chief executives had been relieved of their various appointments.
The Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva, stated this while speaking on the side-lines of the inauguration of the boards of the Nigerian Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and the Nigerian Upstream Regulatory Commission in Abuja.
He explained that with the passage of the Petroleum Industry Act, the NPRA and NURC had taken over the functions of the DPR, PPPRA and PEF.
Responding to a question on what would happen to DPR following the inauguration of the board of NURC, Sylva said, “It is now a matter of law.
“The law states that all the assets and even the staff of the DPR are to be invested on the commission and also in the authority. So that means the DPR doesn’t exist anymore.
“And, of course, the law specifically repeals the DPR Act, the Petroleum Inspectorate Act, the Petroleum Equalisation Fund Act and the PPPRA Act. The law specifically repeals them. It is very clear that those agencies do not exist anymore.”
On what would happen to the chief executives and employees of DPR, PEF and PPPRA, the minister replied, “The law also provides for the staff and the jobs in those agencies to be protected.
“But I’m sure that that doesn’t cover, unfortunately, the chief executives, who were on political appointments.”
He stated that the process for aligning the workers of the defunct agencies with the new regulatory bodies had already commenced, as the staff had to be rationalised.
Sylva said, “The authority has its staff coming from the defunct PEF, PPPRA and DPR. The commission has staff coming over from DPR and the process is going on for the next few weeks.”
Sylva stated that the inauguration of the boards on Monday marked the beginning of the successor agencies.
He said, “The PIA provides for the upstream regulatory commission and the establishment of the midstream and downstream authority.
“So far, the chief executives of these agencies have not been in place, but of course, Mr President in his wisdom made the appointment a few weeks ago and they went through a rigorous process of confirmation at the National Assembly.
“The agencies have now taken off because they now have clear leadership and today’s event marks that beginning for the new agencies.”
He further stated that with the passage of the PIA into law, after spending over 20 years in the process, the coast was now clear for investors to fully invest in Nigeria’s oil sector.
“Today, the PIA has clarified the legal framework around the sector and the agencies are now in place. So I don’t see anything now stopping investors from coming,” the minister stated.
He said competent hands were now handling the business, adding, “Nigerians should brace up for exponential growth in the oil and gas sector.”
The Chief Executive, NURC, Gbenga Komolafe, said the commission would deliver on its mandate as captured in the new petroleum Act.
“Nigerians should expect massive deliverables in the sense that the PIA has ended the regime of uncertainty in terms of the governance of the industry,” he said.
He also said the commission would ensure that the country hits its OPEC quota in crude oil production, as the NURC would be an enabler of investments.
EndSARS: Police Warn Against Protest In Oyo
Oyo State Police command, on Tuesday, said that it will not allow anyone to organize any protest in the state.
The police made this disclosure while reacting to a protest, which has been scheduled to hold in commemoration of the anniversary of End SARS protest in the state.
DAILY POST correspondent recalls that the End SARS protest, which was organised by youths in October last year, was held in order to protest against police brutality.
It was gathered that no fewer than five police officers died during the protest in the state last year.
Several properties were also destroyed during the protests.
The state police command has, however, advised youths not to organise any commemorative protest in Oyo State.
Commissioner of Police, Ngozi Onadeko, who spoke on Tuesday, noted that the police in the state has uncovered a plan to organise the maiden anniversary of the protests.
Onadeko in a statement signed by Public Relations Officer of the command, Adewale Onadeko, urged parents and guardians to warn their wards against being used by merchants of anarchy.
He said that the police would use all legal means to prevent such protests.
He maintained that violators would be sanctioned and prosecuted.
“Consequent upon this, the Commissioner of Police, Oyo State Police Command, Ngozi Onadeko fdc, is appealing to individual(s), groups and most importantly architects of these sinister plans, to have a rethink as the Command would not hesitate to use any legitimate means necessary within the ambit of the law to enforce sanity and prevent needless loss of lives and wanton destruction of private and public properties including critical government infrastructures which could emanate from the proposed protests.
“In furtherance to the above, the Commissioner of Police has directed extensive visibility and aggressive patrols by Area commanders and Divisional Police Officers while adequate deployment of operational, intelligence and tactical assets would be strategically positioned across every nook and cranny of the State to compliment and neutralize any threat or act(s) capable of truncating the relative calm enjoyed by the citizenry.
“Furthermore, Parents, guardians and leaders that wield various degrees of influence in religious, educational and traditional capacities are passionately advised to warn their wards and proteges against being used by merchants of anarchy as violators would be thoroughly sanctioned and prosecuted.”