FOI ACT, POTENT WEAPON AGAINST FRAUD -ICPC
The Freedom of Information (FoI) Act (2011) has been described as a vibrant, potent and effective anti-graft weapon, which, if effectively utilized would reduce corruption to the lowest level if not totally eradicated in Nigeria.
Making this assertion on Monday in Lagos was the Director of Education with the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), Mrs Rashidat Okoduwa during a one-day workshop of the National Anti-Corruption Coalition (NACC).
In her presentation entitled: 'The Freedom of Information Act 2011: Tool for vibrant NACC,' Okoduwa asserted that the Act had given the coalition an amble opportunity for 'information gathering, researches, studies and survey, educational and sensitization activities, production of educational materials as well as advocacy and community mobilization.'
Quoting copiously from the Act, the ICPC functionary informed that 'the Act gives every person a legally enforceable right of access to records, documents and information held by public institutions subject to certain exemptions stated in the Act.'
She added that the Act also 'covers private entities performing public functions, providing public services or utilizing public funds,' tasking the coalition to be conversant with the Act so as to make their task of fighting grafts in the country easier.
Speaking further, Okoduwa asserted that 'anti-graft war is a collective responsibility of all Nigerians,' warning that 'no body should sit on the fence in this matter because with every act of corruption perpetrated, it is the whole public that will suffer for it.'
Against this backdrop, the woman anti-graft fighter, therefore challenged all Nigerians to be committed to the war against corruption in the country, saying 'the war requires a lot of commitment and sacrifices because it can not be won with 'it is not my business' attitude.'
While describing anti corruption war as a war to make the ground level for all the citizenry, the ICPC education director was of the strong conviction that 'if the momentum is sustained and intensified, there would be incremental improvement in the country, just as she warned members of the coalition to be honest and credible, reminding them that 'he who comes to equity, comes with clean hands and not doing something funny by the side.'
The workshop, according to her was to fashion out a way for the coalition to be more effective in their anti-graft activities, urging them not to compel the commission to delist non performing organization.
Speaking on behalf of about 30 organisations members, President of the United Nation Youth Network Nigeria, Prince Goodluck Obi, assured the ICPC representatives at the event that the coalition would be more committed to the anti-graft war, saying the workshop had equipped them to be more effective.
The ICPC, Lagos office Head Barrister Binga Shitema was represented at the workshop by the Administration Head, Mr. Samson Iroka.