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Information Ministry Bags “FOI Hall of Shame” Award

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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture

The Federal Ministry of Information and Culture on Monday joined the growing list of public officials and institutions accused of undermining the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011 as Media Rights Agenda (MRA) named the Ministry this week’s inductee into the “FOI Hall of Shame”.

MRA said in a statement that it inducted the Ministry into the FOI Hall of Shame for its flagrant violation of the several provisions of the FOI Act, including failing to designate an appropriate official of the Ministry to receive requests for information from members of the public; failing to publish the title and contact details of such an official as required by the FOI Act and the Implementation Guidelines issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation; and refusing to accept requests for information from members of the public on the excuse that it does not have an official designated for that purpose, contrary to Section 2(3)(f) of the FOI Act.  

The organisation also accused the Ministry of refusing to meet its proactive disclosure obligations under Section 2(3), (4) and (5) of the FOI Act; failing to provide appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information held by the Ministry and the effective implementation of the Act as required by Section 13 of the Act; unjustifiably refusing to disclose information to members of the public seeking information from it under the FOI Act; and persistently failing to submit its annual report on its implementation of the Act to the Attorney-General of the Federation as required by Section 29 of the Act and the  Attorney-General’s FOI Implementation Guidelines.

According to MRA, over the last six years since the FOI Act came into force, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture has submitted only one annual report to the Attorney-General of the Federation, which was the report it submitted in 2012 for the fiscal year, 2011, but has subsequently disregarded its statutory duty to turn in its reports by February 1 of each year over the last five years.

Mr. Ridwan Sulaimon, MRA’s Programme Manager in charge of Freedom of Information, said: “It is tragic that an institution such as the Federal Ministry of Information, which is supposed to be the information gateway to the government of Nigeria and which claims that its mandate includes the management of ‘a dynamic public information system that facilitates access by the citizens and the global community to credible and timely information about our nation’ can be in such shameful violation of a law aimed at enabling citizens obtain information from public institutions.”

According to Sulaimon, “Given the position and responsibilities of the Ministry of Information and Culture, it should be a shining example to other agencies of government in the implementation of the FOI Act and in ensuring that citizens have access to information in an efficient and timely manner.  It should, indeed, be able to facilitate access for citizens to information held by other ministries, departments and agencies of government. Unfortunately, the only example it appears to be setting is in enthroning a culture of impunity.”

MRA therefore called on the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) as well as the National Assembly, as the oversight bodies in charge of ensuring the implementation of the Act, to take steps to enforce compliance by the Ministry and other government agencies in similar situations, with the provisions of the Act.

Media Rights Agenda launched the “FOI Hall of Shame” on July 3 to draw attention to  public officials and institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 through the actions, decisions or utterances

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Africa’s Renewable Energy set to Soar by 2022 – IEA

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Paolo Frankl, head of the renewable division at the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), has said that strong demand is set to give a huge boost to renewable energy growth in Sub-Sahara Africa over the next five years, driving cumulative capacity up more than 70%.

From Ethiopia to SA, millions of people are getting access to electricity for the first time as the continent turns to solar, wind and hydropower projects to boost generation capacity.

“A big chunk of this growth is hydro because of Ethiopia, but then you have solar … in SA, Nigeria and Namibia, and wind in SA and Ethiopia as well,” said  Frankl.

He forecast installed capacity of renewable energy in the Sub-Sahara region almost doubling from around 35GW now to above 60GW given the right conditions.

Ethiopia has an array of hydropower projects under construction, including the $4.1 billion Grand Renaissance Dam along the Nile River that will churn out 6 000MW upon completion.

“Africa has one of the best potential resources of renewables anywhere in the world, but it depends very much on the enabling framework, on the governance and the right rules,” Frankl said at a wind energy conference.

The transition to a low-carbon trajectory to reduce harmful greenhouse gases is creating opposition from the coal industry and fuelling uncertainty in countries where job creation was linked to coal mining.

In Africa, this tension and its impact on new investment have been best illustrated by SA’s state-owned Eskom and its reluctance to sign new deals with independent power producers, according to analysts.

 

“The continent has a lot of potential, but the problem is financial and political issues, so all of our projects are being delayed for quite a long time, like with Eskom,” said Mason Qin, business development manager for southern and eastern Africa at China’s Goldwind.

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U.S Urges FG to Invest more in Science, Research

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The American Academy of Arts and Sciences has urged the Nigerian government and the private sector, to allocate adequate funds to the ministry of Science and Technology, to realise its full potential and advance development of the nation.

Jonathan Fanton, President, of the academy, made the call at a dinner to mark 40th anniversary of Nigerian Academy of Science (NAS) located in Lagos.

Fanton, who identified science and technology as the key to national development, added that the benefit that would accrue to its citizenry would be massive, if properly funded.

According to him, investment in sciences will boost production and healthcare delivery among others in the sense that it will aid in capacity building, researches and innovations.

“I recommend significant increase in funding for basic sciences by government, industries private sector, for this will go a long way to ensuring food security, poverty reduction and improve academic standard .

“Such investment will also avail children the opportunity to embrace science as their courses of study both in secondary and tertiary institution of learning.

“Because laboratories in schools among others will be well equipped to enhance easier learning,” he said.

Prof. Mosto Onuoha, President, Nigerian Academy of science said the goal of the organisation was to ensure that the gains of science and technology were brought to bear in the solution of national problems.

Onuoha, who identified science as critical in national development, said it cut across all spheres of life and economy which include health, water, sanitation, hygiene, electricity, transportation, Agriculture and education.

The president reiterated that no remarkable progress would be made worldwide without sciences adding that it was a transformation agent.

He however, said improved investment in the sector would go a long way to boost the capacity of professionals in the area of research, students’ performance, environmental sanitation and health care delivery.

Onuoha, who identified inadequate fund as one of the changes bedeviling the academy however, urged the Federal Government, industries as well as philanthropists to prioritise investment in the sector for quality and efficient service delivery.

He however, expressed the determination of the academy to ensure better future for the citizens particularly the younger generation.

“Science has solutions to diseases, water borne problems, energy. There are lots of problems befalling man kind that science can effectively resolve.

“Our people die of environmental and sanitation problems and these issues can only to be tackled scientifically.

“Our goal and aspiration is to see young children embracing science technology, develop interest in Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Agriculture and Biology as against what is obtainable now.”

Similarly, Donald Duke, former Governor of Cross Rivers State, while congratulating the academy for giant strides, made so far, however, urged them to collaborate with governments at all levels to ensure that science was well captured in schools curriculum.

Duke, who reaffirmed that “we are moving faster to the technological world’’, said this required every Nigerians to embrace it and as well be science compliance or else you would be left behind.

According to him, if science and technology are well captured in school curriculum, it will go a long way to enhance school performance and national development.

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NITMA 2017 Gathers Momentum, To Reward Professionals

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By peter oluka

National Information Technology Merit Award (NITMA), the flagship award of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) is set to reward corporate organisations and individuals for keeping for their professionalism and innovations over the years.

With a track record of success since 2009, NITMA is credible, forward looking and important in promoting long term sustainability of the IT sector and developing Nigeria’s knowledge society.

It is a responsibility NCS does not take lightly to acknowledge, celebrate and reward corporate organizations and individuals who are outstanding in their various Information Technology (IT) practice and have also contributed immensely to the development of the profession in Nigeria.

NITMA is awarded only to companies and individuals with valid licenses to practice Information Technology (IT) in Nigeria i.e must be registered by: Nigeria Computer Society (NCS); Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN) and Corporate Affairs Commission (for corporate organizations).

Award Highlights:

  • Conferment of fellowships
  • IT Personality of the Year Award
  • Industry Award
  • Special Recognition Awards
  • Scholarship Awards

NCS, annually through NITMA, recognizes and rewards excellence and tremendous contributions in the development and deployment of Information Technology in the country and the Diaspora. Category awards are based on IT specialization, NCS standards and global best practices. Professional fellowships are also be conferred on deserving members.

High profile NITMA awards are uncommon incentives and goals for members of Nigeria’s IT community to strive towards. The special recognition of exceptional performance encourages others to strive for similar success.

The annual event attracts not just professionals, innovators, researchers and entrepreneurs, but also policy makers and decision makers in the private and public sectors.

The 2017 edition is billed to hold as follow:

Venue: MUSON Centre, Onika, Lagos

Date: Thursday, November 30th, 2017

Time: 5.00pm prompt

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