BENIN CITY- Edo State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Prof Yinka Omorogbe has said that the administration of Godwin Obaseki is in support of the passage of the Freedom of Information, FOI law because public participation in governance processes are essential.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of a two – day workshop for Civil Society Organizations and Journalists in Benin City, the Attorney General noted that FOI law is in the interest of the people and for a better society.
According to her, “the passage of the bill or not to a great extent depends on the CSO’s and the Journalist because for a long time the point has been made world-wide that citizens participation in every area has become an increasing important factor.
“Public participation in governance at the end of the day is essential in governance processes. You at the end of the day hold the key whether you have a good government or a bad government, whether the government is going the way you want or not.
“The government of Mr.Godwin Obaseki clearly understands citizen’s participation in governance and we have supported all things that has to do with the Open Governance Partnership, OGP and all things that have to do with openness and transparency in governance.
She further disclosed that all these initiatives even started before she came into the government but however noted that it took a big boost upwards, and now it is at the legislative stage. The bill has to be been passed and we now have to ensure that the people, the legislators know that it is a good thing and in the best interest of society.
While declaring the workshop open, the Attorney General noted that at the end of the day, the interest of the society should be paramount because the way we make our bed is the way we will lie on at the end of the day.
Earlier, the Executive Director of Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor who was represented by the Deputy Director, Mr Leo Atakpu, said that few months ago, Edo State Attorney general and Commissioner for Justice had set up a committee to work on a draft FOI law for the state.
“The Committee has come up with a draft bill and the bill has been discussed and reviewed within government circles. It is the turn of CSO’s to do the same, while also discussing the advocacy strategies and stakeholders to engage to get the bill passed in record time.
“We are mindful of the present political situation in the state arising from the scheduled governorship elections. However, the passage of the FOI law by Edo State House of Assembly and subsequent accent by the governor will be a plus to the present administration in the state and this is the task we have set for ourselves,” he noted.
He disclosed that the workshop organized by ANEEJ as part of the implementation of the Civil Society Advocacy to support Anti- corruption and Rule of Law in Nigeria (CASARN) project, funded by the European Union and implemented by the British Council has the goal of enhancing governance in Nigeria by contributing to the fight against corruption, strengthen rule of law and the protection of human rights by reinforcing prevention mechanisms and enhancing civil society and public engagement.
“We appreciate the support from the Rule of Law and Anti- corruption, RoLAC team who has made it possible for ANEEJ to receive this funding. We particularly thank the European Union and British Council for funding ANEEJ work,” he added.
It would be recalled that Edo Sate government joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) in 2018 and the state action plan (SAP) has been developed and it is currently before the government for the governor’s signature.