Freedom of Information Coalition Nigeria Elects Board

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The Freedom of Information (FOI) Coalition in Nigeria has established a Board of Governors charged with directing the affairs of the Coalition.

The Board was inaugurated on January 29, 2015 at the Second Freedom of Information Act Implementers Strategy Meeting in Abuja.

The meeting which was convened by Media Rights Agenda from January 27 to 29, 2015 aimed at strengthening FOI implementation efforts in Nigeria in a strategic and structured manner. The meeting adopted mechanisms for ensuring greater coordination, collaboration, as well as information, experience and skills sharing and exchange in FOI implementation activities among civil society organizations and legal practitioners within the country.

As part of its re-structuring process, the group elected and inaugurated a Board of Governors to steer the affairs of the Coalition. A Secretariat hosted by the Media Rights Agenda was also set up to function along with the Board until an independent office is created.

The new Board of Governors consists of: Mr. Yusuf Yakub Arrigasiyyu from the Muslim League for Accountability (MULAC) in Kaduna; Mr. Isah Garba from the Bauchi State Coalition for the Improvement of Public Expenditure Management (BACIPEM) in Bauchi; Mr Terna Yanayka of the Centre for Public Opinion and Media Research (CePOMeR) in Abuja; Mr. Bob Dum Lezina Amegua, a legal practitioner with Karibi-Whyte & Co (Coronation Chambers) in Port Harcourt; Mr. Walter Duru of the Media Initiative Against Injustice Violence and Corruption (MIIVOC) in Owerri; Mrs. Motunrayo Alaka of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) in Lagos; Ms Jennifer Onyejekwe of Media Rights Agenda (MRA) in Lagos.

Cross section of participantsThe meeting also strengthened and expanded the Network of Lawyers working on FOI litigation across the nation. The Network highlighted and discussed contradictory litigation procedures and legal issues in the handling of FOI cases with a view to reaching a consensus. The Network encouraged legal colleagues to use every opportunity to sensitize the judiciary on the FOI Act, 2011.

The meeting was also an opportunity for experience sharing amongst groups implementing various FOI projects and activities on issues of advocacy, capacity building, public awareness, litigation, information technology and media. The experience shared helped members to appreciate what other organizations were doing and brought about a realization that many members of the Coalition working on FOI related issues are largely doing so in silos.  It was therefore agreed that there was a lot of room for better collaboration.  Specific areas of collaboration and joint activities were identified.

The meeting was supported by the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) II Project. The DGD II Project is a joint donor-funded project managed by UNDP in support of deepening democracy in Nigeria and is funded with contributions from the European Union, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada, and the UNDP.