Human RightsPolitics

SGF speaks on ecological funds,accountability and FOI

The Federal Government has said that 45 completed projects under the Ecological Funds across the country would soon be inaugurated.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr Boss Gida Mustapha, said this in Abuja at a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday as part of activities to mark the Nigerian Open Government Partnership (OGP) initiative week organised by the African Centre for Leadership, Strategy and Development (Centre LSD) and MacArthur Foundation.

Mustapha, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Service in his office, Mr Olusegun Adekunle, noted that many Nigerians may be unaware of the progress on the use of ecological funds in the country.

He said the first process of accountability is to ensure that ministers of government accounted for all resources that have been approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

He added that measures had been put in place in various agencies of government for accountability, and that the agencies were expected to not only formulate the policies but to account to public on level of progress delivery.

He admitted that the government was aware of the request for information which was not easily responded to and that the Ministry of Justice and the Office of the SGF were working on it.

He said, “The office of the SGF and the Ministry of Justice are working tirelessly to help Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) and citizens have access to information. CSOs are known to fight for the social welfare of ordinary citizens, for transparency, accountability and transformation and should not be denied access to information.”

On his part, the Country Director, Development Alternatives Incorporated (DAI), Dr Joe Abah, urged the government to amend and issue a circular on non-compliance with Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

Abah who was the immediate past Director-General, Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), said that sanctions should be formulated and implemented for Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDA) that failed to comply with the Act.

He urged the media to press for the enforcement of FOI Act and not rely on press releases and statements to make news.

“Journalists should use investigative journalism to put pressure on government to apply the use of the FOI Act which is a key to their job. The court which was the mostly used justice system was slow and expensive to the average Nigerian and should be made to deliver justice to the poor.

“The criminal justice system must work. Those who have stolen or looted should not be allowed in public places; they should be sent to where they belong and refrain from using injunction upon injunction to get away with their crimes,” Abah said.

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