Elites Network for Sustainable Development (ENetSuD), a Kwara-based Civil Society Organization, has written the Kwara State House of Assembly to lobby for the domestication of Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in Kwara State.
In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the House (Rt. Hon. Ali Ahmad) and jointly signed by the organization’s Coordinator (Dr. Alagbonsi Abdullateef) and Director of Legal Services (Barr. Luqman Raji), ENetSuD explained that its extensive tracking of the Federal Government Capital and Constituency projects in Kwara State is possible due to the availability of FOI Act, which is a Law of the Federation. Explaining further, ENetSuD said that it has found it very difficult to track Kwara State Government (KWSG)-funded projects due to the fact that FOI Act has not yet been domesticated in the State, as that is the usual excuse given by KWSG to deny information requested on projects.
ENetSuD explained the importance of the Act to include: making public records and information more freely available; providing for public access to public records and information; protecting public records and information to the extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy; protecting serving public officers from adverse consequences of disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorization; and establishing procedures for the achievement of those purposes and for related matters.
Finally, ENetSuD noted that domestication of the FOI Act by the outgoing 8th Assembly will set the pace and standard of Transparency, Accountability and Good Governance for the incoming and successive governments of Kwara State, and also empower citizens, civil societies and nongovernmental organizations to demand Transparency and Accountability from the government.