Nigerians have been urged to use advantage offered by the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, 2011 to hold public office holders accountable.
Dr. Walter Duru, Chairman, Board of Governors, Freedom of Information Coalition, disclosed this on Tuesday, February 11, in Benin City during a Capacity Building Roundtable on the Provisions and Use of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 for media practitioners, legal practitioners and civil society organizations members.
Describing the FOI Act as a powerful tool for the fight against corruption in Nigeria, Duru expressed concern over low usage of the law by citizens in holding government at all levels accountable.
According to him, bulks of corruption cases are buried or swept under the carpet by our leaders in government because no one ask questions neither apply the FoI in requesting for some vital information from their leaders.
Asking how many persons have copy of the 2020 budget either for state or federal, and if anyone followed it preparation, Duru disclosed that it behoves of the citizens to have and follow yearly budget of state and federal in order to know level of its implementation.
“When you don’t involve in the yearly budget by following it right from the preparation, how do you monitor it implementation and compliance?
“With the advantage of the Freedom of Information Act, citizens need to ask questions on our budget, it Implementation level. But if we feel non-concern, we will be taken for granted”, he added.
He therefore called on Nigerians to take advantage of the FoI Act to participate in governance in the interest of the country.
Another facilitator at the training, Dr. Temitope Olaifa, said citizens gaining access to adequate and accurate information about public offices activities will help in taking the country to enviable level.
She noted that with the Freedom of Information Act, Nigerians, regardless of discipline have right to request for information and that such Nigerian owe no one explanation why he or she is requesting for such information.