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Justice Ministry urges public institutions to comply with FoI Act

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The Federal Ministry of Justice on Tuesday in Abuja urged public institutions to comply with the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act 2011 with a view to making public records and information more freely available.

Mr Dayo Apata, Solicitor-General of the Federation and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Justice, made the call at a roundtable for FoI Desk Officers in public institutions.

Represented by Mr Benjamin Okolo, a director in the ministry, Apata emphasised the need for public institutions to establish structures that would ensure effective implementation of the Act.

Apata also urged public institutions to comply with Section 29 of the Act, which requires them to submit to the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation a report containing details of submissions received and matters arising therefore on or before Feb. 1 each year.

According to him, compliance is mandatory.

“There is need for improved and sustainable compliance.

“Out of 900 public institutions we have not had 100 reports since 2011.

“In 2019, only 73 public institutions sent in their reports; we should surpass what we have on ground,” Apata said.

While expressing the ministry’s determination to ensure improved compliance, he urged the desk officers of public institutions to avail themselves of the reporting template to ensure uniformity in the form and style of reporting.

The FoI Act came into force on May 28, 2011 to make public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, to the extent consistent with the public interest and protection of personal privacy.

Edited by: Felix Ajide

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