Ministry fails to answer FOI, blames unavailability of workers

THE Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has failed to provide information on projects sponsored by members of the National Assembly demanded through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request by The ICIR.

A response to the FOI request cited the absence of some civil servants following the work-from-home directive issued by the Federal Government as the reason for the Ministry’s inability to provide the information.

“Due to partial operations in the Federal Civil Service with regards to the COVID-19 pandemic in the country made it difficult for the Ministry to grant your request at the moment.

“Kindly note that as soon as this directive on COVID-19 is eased out, the Ministry will be able to respond to your request accordingly,” it read.

The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) had earlier given a similar response to an FOI request sent by The ICIR.

Chief Legal Officer of the Board Abdulhakeem Abdulraheem said the documents requested by The ICIR were being handled by government officials who had been off-duty since last year.

The ICIR had requested a list of projects sponsored by federal lawmakers between 2015 and 2020 from both organisations.

The list of projects requested by The ICIR was to include contract description, advert date and media, approved threshold, procurement method, bid opening date, contractor, date of contract award, contract period, contract value, budgetary provision, the amount paid, level of completion and remarks.

Their response did not include the date when the requested information would be made available as the work-from-home directive issued last year to Grade Level 12 workers and below due to the pandemic is yet to be reversed.

The work-from-home directive issued by the Federal Government has been extended several times, with the latest one expiring in June.


Ijeoma Opara is a journalist with The ICIR. Reach her via [email protected] or @ije_le on Twitter.

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