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Implementation Of FOI Act, Panacea For Good Governance – Malami

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Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has said that vigorous implementation of the Freedom of information (FoI) Act, is essential for Nigeria to make significant breakthrough in the enthronement of good governance.
Malami made the assertion yesterday in Abuja at an event organised by the ministry to commemorate 10 years of implementation of the Act in the country.
The theme of the event is:”A Decade of Implementing the Freedom of Information Act by Public Institutions and Developing Sustainable Strategies for Strengthening the FoI Act”.
The minister, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Cyber Crimes, Mr Abiodun Aikomo, said the implementation of the FoI Act remained one of the cardinal policies articulated by the present administration.
“Section 29 of the Act places on the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice, the responsibility and obligation to oversee compliance with the Act especially by the MDAs.
“As such, the office of the attorney-general published regulations on implementation and reporting requirements under the FOI Act, 2011 for public institutions on January 29, 2012
“This was closely followed with the guidelines on the implementation issued on March 15, 2012 and the revised edition issued on February 27, 2013.”
The minister said that the series of regulations were designed to clearly establish and coordinate the framework for compliance for effective monitoring and evaluation.
The attorney-general said it was also to respond to the challenges of implementing the Act by public institutions.
He expressed concerns that the implementation of the act had encountered several challenges among the different MDAs.
“Notwithstanding the laudable and noble objectives of the FoI Act and the regulations made pursuant thereto, there have been a lot of challenges towards the effective and efficient implementation of the Act by public institutions.
“Among such challenges are poor record keeping and management, lack of willingness in many quarters to accept the new information regime imposed by the FoI Act in Nigeria.”
He said one of the key points of celebrating a decade of implementation of the act, was to develop sustainable strategies to further strengthen its implementation.
“ Today’s event is expected to once again bring stakeholders together to foster widespread understanding, and instill a renewed commitment of FoI Desk Officers across public institutions towards a more effective implementation of the Act.”
He gave the assurance that the ministry would continue to work towards making the FoI Act achieve all its objectives in Nigeria.
He complimented all public institutions who had been compilling and also enhancing the implementation of the FoI Act in the last decade and urged those lagging behind to step up.

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FG Sets Up To Recover Illegally Refined Crude Oil

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In a bid to block revenue leakages, the Federal Government, yesterday, inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee to tackle illegal refining of crude oil in the Niger Delta region of the country.
Members of the committee, who took their oath at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami, SAN, were drawn from the Ministry of Defence, the Nigerian Army, the Navy, Defence Headquarters, the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), as well as from the Federal Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Environment, the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR), and the National Oil Spill Detection and Response Agency (NOSDRA).
The Solicitor-General of the Federation (SGF), and Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr Umar Mohammed, who represented the AGF at the event, said the major mandate of the committee, was “the recovery of illegally refined petroleum products (crude oil) in the dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
According to the SGF, “In line with the policy of the current administration on security and economy, as well as the preservation of the environment from negative hazards.
“The office of the Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, in collaboration with all stakeholders, have put in place a mechanism for effective and efficient management of illegally refined products recovered from dug-up pits found around the creeks of the Niger Delta.
“This mechanism was agreed by the relevant stakeholders and submitted to the Attorney-General of the Federation, who considered and approved the establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee for the purpose of implementing the Mechanism known as Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) For the Recovery of Illegally Refined Petroleum Products (Crude Oil) in the Dug-Up Pit found around the creeks of the Niger Delta”.
The SGF said the Federal Ministry of Justice would coordinate the process and the Secretariat of the Inter-Ministerial Committee.
“The responsibility of the Inter-Ministerial Committee is to detect, report, evacuate, assess and ensure transparent disposal of the product with due consideration to the environment.
“The Inter-Ministerial Committee shall be guided by the SOP, developed for the project.
“The content of the SOP is drawn from the provision of the Asset Tracing, Recovery and Management Regulations 2019.
“It is my hope that the proceeds from this exercise will be a source of additional revenue for the country”, the SGF added.

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FRSC Threatens Sanction Against Fleet Operators Over Speed Limit

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The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) says it will sanction any fleet operator found sabotaging the implementation of the Speed Limit Device.
Corps Marshal Boboye Oyeyemi said this during the 2021 annual safety managers retreat yesterday in Abuja.
The retreat aimed at sensitising safety managers on the implementation of the Road Transport Safety Standardisation Scheme to attain best practices in fleet operations.
The theme of the retreat is: “Assessment of Speed Limit Device Implementation in Nigeria: Prospects and Challenges”.
Oyeyemi, represented by Deputy Corps Marshal, Motor Vehicle operations, Mr Hyginus Foumsuk, said that the corps would also sanction Speed Limit Device vendors identified for complicity.
The corps marshal expressed concern on the spate of road accidents and needless loss of lives, especially involving fleet operators.
“These, according to many experts investigations, could have been avoided if the concerned safety managers had been responsive in their duties,” he said.
Oyeyemi said that recent findings by the corps have also revealed a low level of compliance on the installation of Speed Limit Device and associated sharp practices among some fleet operators.
He noted that these practices included tampering with Speed Limit Device and connivance with vendors to deceive enforcement operatives.
This, he said, was with compliance certificates without actual installation of the device, calibration above the approved speed limits and others.
According to him, these shall no longer be tolerated as the corps will not hesitate to sanction violators henceforth.
Oyeyemi urged relevant stakeholders to address the decline on the proper vehicle maintenance as well as implementation of the passenger manifest by fleet operators and the drivers’ recruitment policy.
“We all know the essence of the passenger manifest and the significance of its proper implementation. You are therefore urged to take these issues seriously in the interest of safety.
“Passenger manifest is considered pivotal, thus its enforcement should continue along other traffic offences to compel the needed compliance. It is therefore pertinent that strict adherence to the existing policies be sustained,” he said.
“There is need for fleet operators to introduce improved practices to ensure the safety and comfort of their passengers in compliance with traffic regulations.
The Director-General, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, commended the efforts of the corps on road safety.
Irukera noted that injury and fatality on the road were caused by speed, describing speed as a catalyst, aggravator and mitigator.
He urged motorists to take cognisance look into installing Speed Limit Device to avoid road traffic crashes and save lives and property.
He, however, assured FRSC of the commission’s support to punish violators, saying that excessive speed attracts a penalty.

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Sokoto Assembly Approves 2021 Virement Request Of N155m

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The  Sokoto State House of Assembly yesterday approved Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s  request of N155 million virement warrant on some capital projects  in 2021 approved budget.
This approval  followed the consideration of a letter by the state governor presented at the plenary by the Speaker, Alhaji Aminu Achida.
Alhaji Bello Ambarura, the All Progressives Congress (APC) leader in  the assembly, had  moved a motion asking  the lawmakers to consider the request at its plenary session.
Ambarura said that the request was necessitated by the present administration’s commitment to addressing  a number of developmental projects.

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