The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) at its top management meeting held on September 8, 2017 approved that the Freedom of Information (FOI) activities be domiciled in the SERVICOM Unit of the Agency as part of its plans for the implementation of the FOI Act.
The SERVICOM unit which now also serves as the FOI unit of the Agency, in discharging its duties, will at all times collaborate with departments, units, zones and port offices of the agency in addressing requests and ensuring that the laid down procedures are followed.
NIMASA also sets out the procedures the SERVICOM Unit will follow in addressing requests for information from the public and responding to same.
On receiving request for information, NIMASA officials are to request applicants to complete the FOI request form or be assisted in putting down oral request in writing. The official is to acknowledge the request submitted by stamping and registering it. The Unit reviews and sends the application to the appropriate Departments, Units, Zones and Port offices for response in accordance with the provision of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. The FOI unit is also to ensure that response from the departments is within the stipulated period as provided in the FOI Act. It is to then communicate the outcome of the request/ report to the applicants within the stipulated period specified in the Act and register action taken with date for record purposes.
NIMASA also sets out the objectives of the FOI Unit as to coordinate the implementation of and compliance with the Freedom of Information Unit, arrange to make records and information in the custody of the Agency available, subject to specified exemptions and due process as well as enhance transparency and accountability of the Agency and its workforce.
The FOI unit also has a mandate which is to process oral or written application (s) for access to information and records; liaise with other Departments, Units, Zones and Port offices to attend to and address request(s); manage all requests in collaboration with Director General’s office and Legal Unit to provide for Legal support at all times; prepare and submit the quarterly FOI implementation report to the Director General’s office, prepare and submit FOI implementation annual report to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) on or before February 1 for the preceding year, develop standard charges for making copies of the Agency’s documents and transcriptions of same provided in the FOI Act and also provide advisory services on the Freedom of Information Act.
The agency has also made it possible for members of the public to make FOI requests online.