Experts want institutions to embrace electronic transmission of FOI requests

February 17, 2022

Experts have called on public institutions across the country to embrace the electronic transmission of Freedom of Information (FOI) requests as well as in processing, storing, managing, retrieving, presenting, transferring and distributing information for speedy implementation of the Act.

This is even as they suggested that inadequate application of digital record keeping tools by public institutions in gathering and dissemination of information poses unnecessary burden on desk officers as it undermines the implementation of the FOI act

These were contained in a communique issued at the end of a 2-day workshop for ‘Freedom of Information (FOI) Desk Officers of Public Institutions on the Establishment of an Online Engagement Platform’ in Abuja recently.

The event was organised by the International Press Centre (IPC) in collaboration with Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the Freedom of Information Unit of the Federal Ministry of Justice, with the theme, “Facilitating Shared Learning, Experience Sharing and Best Practice Application in the Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011”

It was funded by the European Union (EU) and implemented under Component 4b: Support to the media of the EU Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) Project.

With over 60 participants drawn from FOI Desk Officers of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the workshop was intended to deepen strategies for effective implementation of the FOI Act.

The participants frowned at the poor state of record-keeping in public institutions, which they believed constituted an obstacle to the effective implementation of the FOI Act .

In accordance with the provisions of the FOI Act, the experts encouraged public institutions to train officials especially those within the information ecosystem, adding that there should be budgetary provisions for the training of all the personnel.

They enjoined the Attorney-General of the Federation to provide a framework on the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) by public institutions and the digitalisation of information and records across MDAs.

The participants warned public institutions against hiding under the Official Secrets Act or the Federal Public Service Rules or other such instruments to deny members of the public access to information, as the FOI Act is superior to such laws and policy documents.

They tasked the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture alongside its institutions like the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) and Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) in sensitising the public on the existence of FOI act and how to apply it in seeking for information.

— Chika Okeke is a journalist with MOC and the Publisher/ Editor of, an online news platform.
She joined the services of LEADERSHIP Media Group in 2008 as a Reporter where she rose through the ranks as a Senior Reporter to Deputy Editor Daily, Deputy Editor, LEADERSHIP Sunday and Deputy Editor, LEADERSHIP Friday.
During her sojourn in LEADERSHIP Media Group, she had covered the activities of FCT Area Councils, Ministries of Tourism and National Orientation, Works & Housing and Environment.
With over one decade in journalism, she was able to explore various reporting and writing techniques such as feature writing, editing, investigation and editing, with over over 300 publications to her credit.
She has covered workshops and conferences, both in Nigeria and abroad.
She is currently the Treasurer, Environment Media Correspondents Association of Nigeria (EMCAN) and a member of Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ).

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