THE International Centre for Investigative Reporting (The ICIR) has won an award for utilising the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in its work in Nigeria.
The ICIR came second under the organisational category, having made the second-highest requests between May 29, 2015, and October 31, 2021.
The event, which was a celebration of the 10th anniversary of the FOI Act in Nigeria, was organised by the International Press Centre (IPC), in collaboration with the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the European Union (EU).
The FOI Act awards were in four categories – individual, organisation, public institutions and special recognition and stakeholders. There was also the students FOI essay competition category.
The Freedom of Information Act was signed into law on May 28, 2011, by the then President, Goodluck Jonathan administration.
Jonathan, who was given a special recognition award at the event, said his administration enacted the FOI Act to expand and give people reasonable access to information on government activities for the good of society.
Jonathan, who was represented by the Executive Director of Goodluck Jonathan Foundation Ann Iyonu said, “I believe that, for a society to grow and for a country to
develop in a sustainable manner, the people should be granted access to official information thus promoting citizen’s participation in governance.”
He added that “We are now in an information age, which means the society will not function well if the people do not have adequate information on how government business is conducted.”
According to him, Nigerians needed increased access to information to enhance their well-being and knowledge for the country’s development.
In his address, the Executive Director of IPC Lanre Arogundade said the journey towards getting the FOI Act to become a reality was not easy.
He said from 1999 when the group presented the FOI to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo administration until it was signed into law in 2011, it was a vision brought into reality.
“Despite the virulent opposition, there were men and women of courage in both the Senate and the House of Representatives who stood firm and shared the FOI vision with the media and civil societies.”
Since 2018, The ICIR has run an active FOI help desk which can be accessed via this link.
List of the awardees
Essay competition category
- OBANLA RIDWAN
- NENRITMWA MOHAMMED – runner-up
FOI REQUESTS CATEGORY (individual category)
- ATIKU SARKI
- IBRAHIM GARBA MARYAM – runner-up
FOI REQUESTS CATEGORY (Private organisation category)
- PUBLIC AND PRIVATE DEVELOPMENT CENTRE (PPDC)
- INTERNATIONAL CENTRE FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING (ICIR) – runner-up
FOI AWARDS (Public institution category -responsive public institution Practice Recognition Award)
- NIGERIAN INVESTMENT PROMOTION COMMISSION (NIPC)
- BUREAU OF PUBLIC SERVICE REFORMS (BPSR) runner-up
- NATIONAL ORIENTATION AGENCY (NOA) for activities raising awareness about the FOI Act
Special recognition category
- MAXWELL KADIRI
- CHIDI ANSELM ODINKALU
- JIBRIN IBRAHIM
- OSARO ODEMWINGIE
- ANGELA AGOAWIKE
- SAM AMADI
- TUNDE FAGBOHUNLU (SAN)
- JERRY SONNY UGOKWE
- ABIKE DABIRI-EREWA
- DIMEJI BANKOLE (Former Speaker of the House of Representatives)
- SENATOR VICTOR NDOMA-EGBA (SAN)
- SENATOR AYOGU EZE
FOI Awards (Stakeholders category)
- NIGERIA UNION OF JOURNALISTS (NUJ)
- NEWSPAPERS PROPRIETORS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (NPAN)
- NIGERIAN GUILD OF EDITORS (NGE)
- BRITISH HIGH COMMISSION
- UNITED STATES AGENCY FOR INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT (USAID)
- OPEN SOCIETY JUSTICE INITIATIVE (OSJI)
- EUROPEAN UNION (EU)
- DR. GOODLUCK EBELE JONATHAN, GCFR (Former President, Federal Republic of Nigeria) for signing into Law the Freedom of Information Bill on May 28, 2011
- DR. JOHN KAYODE FAYEMI (Executive Governor of Ekiti State & Chairman, Nigerian Governors’ Forum) for for contribution towards the advancement of the right to information in Ekiti State and Nigeria, being the first Governor in Nigeria to adopt a Freedom of Information Law for a State.