Ogunshola calls for greater application of FoI

Source: pointblanknews.com

The immediate past Chairman of Punch Newspapers, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola on Monday said that public and media practitioners were not utilizing the FoI law well enough to deepen the nation's democracy.

He said this at a media luncheon organized to mark his retirement from the board of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

Ogunshola, the immediate past president of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN) said that: “It appears that there is superficial application of the law, even by pressmen, in carrying out their constitutional roles.

“The law, as it is, will promote good governance and provides that information be given to whoever seeks it to keep the public abreast with the management of affairs.

“However, it does appear that there is no sufficient use of it in the public domain.”

Ogunshola said that the notion that state governors would need to domesticate the law before it becomes applicable at state level was erroneous.

He said that the FoI law was already part and parcel of the Law of the Federation and so can be relied upon by anybody, even at the local government level.

“State governors can only enhance the law at their own domains, but the FoI law is already a law of the land,” he said.

On the removal of fuel subsidy, Ogunshola said that it was imperative that the Federal Government set out its priorities before embarking on the policy.

“Government must first determine if its intention is to retain more money for itself by removing the subsidy or to totally get out of the upstream and downstream sectors of the oil industry.

“If the aim is to make more money while retaining the current structure of the industry, the government is wasting its time.

“But if subsidy removal means total liberalisation of the industry with government only partaking in oversight functions to sustain quality, then the nation is blessed for the policy,” he said.

He said any additional income accruable to government from implementing the policy should be used to reduce taxes, especially personal income tax, value added tax,“ and perhaps corporate/income tax.