The Kano State Government has restated its commitment to promoting transparency and accountability in all spheres of administration while disclosing its readiness to adopt the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to complement this initiative. The state’s Head of Service (HOS), Alhaji Mohammed Auwal Nai’ya stated this in a keynote address delivered to the joint round
The Kano State Government has restated its commitment to promoting transparency and accountability in all spheres of administration while disclosing its readiness to adopt the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act to complement this initiative.
The state’s Head of Service (HOS), Alhaji Mohammed Auwal Nai’ya stated this in a keynote address delivered to the joint round table of state and non-state actors held in Kano, the state capital to assess the level of understanding and implementation of the FOI Act in Kano State.
The HOS further said that the state government has initiated a number of processes to promote transparency, accountability and prudence in government. The Kano State government, according to him, has agreed to adopt and implement the FOI Act through the Open Government Partnership (OGP) which the state has signed unto, noting that the adoption of the FOI Act in the state is being subjected to wide consultation and would go through the legislative process.
Shedding more light on this, the Chairman of the Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-Corruption Commission (PCACC), Alhaji Muhuyi Magaji Rimingado, listed what the state government was doing to complement the FOI implementation. These include the establishment of PCACC, its participation in the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Initiative through which it has chosen to adopt the FOI Act and the development of an anti-corruption strategy.
Critical issues that dominated the workshops were the need for state wide awareness, sensitization and educational activities to galvanize the people. They also called for the review of the Official Secrets Act and the administration of the Oath of Secrecy on civil servants which they contend would impede the implementation of the FOI Act.
The three-day roundtable which took place from Tuesday, May 15 to Thursday, May 17, 2018, brought together public officials, the media, professional bodies and non-governmental organisations to assess the level of awareness, understanding and implementation of the FOI Act, 2011; ascertain the gaps that exist and work on closing those gaps, as well as to get a sense of the needs that exist in knowledge about the FOI Act in order to adequately prepare and put strategy in place to address the identified needs.
Prominent among resource persons drawn from the Freedom of Information Coalition, Nigeria, were Dr. Walter Duru and Mr Ayode Longe, the chairperson and secretary of the Board of Governors of the Coalition respectively.
The roundtable had various sessions, comprising presentations, situation assessment through administration of questionnaires, feedback through questions and comments and viewing of a video on how members of a rural Indian community called Rajasthan successfully used the country’s FOI law to hold their elected officials to account for funds that they administered and the ripple effect it had in the state which entrenched transparency policy as a result.
The roundtable workshop was held with support from the European Union, through the Rule of Law and Anti-Corruption (RoLAC) Programme, managed by the British Council. Kano State is one of the four focal states of the RoLAC programme. The other three states are Adamawa, Lagos and Anambra.