The Kogi State House of Assembly has passed the state’s version of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill. If Governor Idris Wada signs the Bill, Kogi State would become the second State in Nigeria, (after Ekiti State), to have passed a State level FOI Law.The House of Assembly passed the Bill on February 12, 2013. The bill was sponsored by the Chairman of the Kogi State House Committee on Information and Public Enlightenment, Hon. Salihu Akawu of Kogi/Koton-Karfe constituency.
Akawu noted that the bill has become necessary in order to avail the people of the State, access to information to ensure transparency and accountability in the good governance system.
The Bill received immense support and attention from a frontline Lokoja based Non Governmental Organisation, The Centre for Human Rights and Conflict Resolution (CHRCR) and its partner, the Open Society Justice Initiative.
The Executive Director of CHRCR, Mr. Idris Miliki Abdul commended the House for the speedy passage and emphasized the importance of the enactment of this legislation at the state level. This, he said, is to entrench transparent and accountable leadership in public service of Kogi State, which according to him, will address the peculiarities of the state and promote the principle of federalism.
He asked Governor Idris Wada to accelerate the signing of the bill into law. Abdul said: “When Governor Idris Wada
eventually assents to the bill, the legislation would make public records and information more freely available for the public to the extent consistent with the public interest and protection of personal privacy, protect serving public officers from adverse consequences for disclosing certain kind of official information without authorisation and establish procedure for the achievement of this purpose.”
The signing of the FOI bill into law will be keeping in line with the promise Governor Wada made on March 29, 2012 while declaring open a two-day Zonal FOI Sensitisation Workshop organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Reform of Government Institutions (otherwise known as the House FOI Committee) for the North Central Zone of Nigeria held at the Confluence Beach Hotel in Lokoja, Kogi State.