The Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) has announced that it will support civil society organisations (CSOs) and media advocacy for the implementation of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) efforts in Edo State, Nigeria.
The Deputy Director of ANEEJ, Leo Atakpu, who represented the Executive Director, Rev. David Ugolor, disclosed this at a two-day workshop for CSOs and journalists on Freedom of Information in Benin, the Edo State capital.
Development Diaries gathered that he said that the Civil Society Advocacy to Support Anti-Corruption and Rule of Law in Nigeria (CASARN) was part of the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) programme which is funded by the European Union.
The programme, which is being implemented by the British Council, aims to encourage good governance in Nigeria by contributing towards the fight against corruption, protecting human rights, and strengthening the rule of law.
He said, ‘Edo State government joined the OGP in 2018, the State Action Plan (SAP) has been developed and is currently before the government for the governor’s signature.
‘In the document, concrete commitments have been proposed for implementation across five thematic areas namely: fiscal transparency, anti-corruption, service delivery and inclusion, access to information and citizen engagement’.
On the FoI, he said, ‘Earlier, the state attorney general and commissioner for justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe set up a committee to work on a draft FoI law for the state and has come up with a draft bill which has been discussed and reviewed within the government.
‘It is the turn of CSOs to do the same, while also discussing the advocacy strategies and stakeholders to engage to get the bill passed in record time’.
Prof. Omoregbe, who was also present at the workshop, urged citizens to participate in government processes, stressing that their active participation was key.
She said, ‘For you to be able to do this you have to be driven by knowledge, you need to know about certain system and process to know what you can push or not push, people need to understand the benefit of FoI’.
On transparency and accountability, she said, ‘At the very least I can assure you that knowing that your action can be scrutinised or your actions will not be hidden makes you act better in the area of contracts.
‘The mere fact that certain contract will be made public makes you not want to do anything shady’.
Photo source: Edo State Government