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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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ACT Foundation Partners Cancer Aware to Screen Over 300 Women

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By Peter Oluka
In line with our vision to mitigate against the spread of cancer in Nigeria, Nigerian’s grant-making non-profit organization, Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) Foundation has partnered with one of its grantees, Cancer Aware to sensitize residents of Mushin Local Government Area of Lagos on breast cancer.

The sensitization exercise which held recently enabled over 300 residents of the community to be educated on the symptoms of breast cancer as well as the opportunity to be screened by medical officers.

Commenting on the exercise, Ndifreke Okwuegbunam, head, Programs, ACT Foundation, highlighted on the importance of breast cancer screening for women. She said “Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers that affect women all over the world. We are aware of the invaluable role women play not only in our homes but in our society at large. And so today we have come to support our grantee, Cancer Aware to bring information about this deadly disease to the women of Mushin Community”.

Mrs. Okwuegbunam also noted that asides the health sector, ACT Foundation is also passionate about entrepreneurship, environment and leadership, as these key sectors will help provide a holistic approach in creating a better world for all.

Speaking at the event, Hon. Emmanuel Bamigboye, the executive chairman, Mushin Local Government Area (LGA), expressed his appreciation to ACT Foundation and Cancer Aware for supporting the government in safeguarding the health of people in Mushin LGA. He called on all women to avail themselves of the opportunity to get screened and protect themselves.

Also speaking about the initiative, Tolu Falowo, executive director, Cancer Aware, expressed her gratitude to ACT Foundation for supporting this laudable project of sensitizing as well as screening residents of Mushin community on breast cancer. She also thanked the Mushin Local Government for the support they provided in making the day a reality.

She said “Cancer Aware is committed to fighting against the spread of breast cancer in Nigeria, this we do through sensitization and screenings because we understand the importance of early detection. We cannot do this alone and so we are calling on the government as well as corporations and well-meaning Nigerians to join us to eradicate the prevalence of breast cancer in Nigerian women.

The sensitization exercise which gathered over 300 women entailed checking of vital signs education on breast cancer, symptoms, care and screening by trained personnel. Attendants also used the opportunity to asked trained medical personnel questions about this menace that is eating deeply into our society.

Cancer Aware is one of the 22 Non-Profit Organisations that benefitted from the 2017 ACT Foundation grant.

Aspire Coronation Trust Foundation is a grant making non-profit established to support local, national and regional non-profits working to address challenges and associated vulnerabilities in the African continent.

(L-r): Olumide Emeralds, monitoring and evaluation officer; Alexandra Bazuaye, communication officer, both from ACT Foundation, and Project Team Lead, Cancer Aware at the breast cancer sensitization exercise in Mushin recently.

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John Momoh To Deliver Keynote at 2nd Fate Alumni Conference

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By Peter Oluka
Fate Foundation; the premier not-for-profit organization promoting business and entrepreneurial development in Nigeria, said it has perfected all arrangement for the second Annual Alumni Conference holding in Lagos next week.

The Annual Alumni Conference (AAC) is a platform for Fate Alumni and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise entrepreneurs to learn from entrepreneurial leaders and influencers sharing knowledge about key topical areas to grow and thrive as entrepreneurs while also giving them an opportunity to network and connect with one another.

John Momoh, the founder and executive chairman, Channels Television Networks, is confirmed to deliver the Keynote address on the theme: Unlocking the Growth potential of MSMEs through Partnerships and Innovation, to build on the success of the inaugural edition and foster a sense of community and tradition.

The Syndicate Sessions will feature distinguished speakers such as the Founder and Chief Executive Officer, House of Tara, Tara Durotoye, Partner, Risk Consulting Practice, KPMG, Tomi Adepoju, Founder, Chicken Republic, DejiAkinyanju, Chief Executive Officer, Mall for Africa, Tope Folayan, Co-Founder & Director, AACE Foods, NdidiNwuneli, and Principal Consultant, ADSRAT Branding Management Consortium, Charles O’Tudor. Others eminent speakers include Founder and Chief Responsible Officer, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble, Adenike Ogunlesi,Chief Executive Officer, Food Chain Limited, FoluAfricanfarmerMogaji, and Chief Executive Officer, Brandzone Consulting LLC, ChizorMalize and Lead Consultant, Thistle Praxis, Ini Abimbola.

Speaking on the Alumni Conference, Executive Director, Fate Foundation, Adenike Adeyemi, said, “Following the success of the maiden edition of the conference last year, we secured a larger space this edition so even more entrepreneurs can benefit from our line-up of experienced entrepreneurial leaders and industry experts who will be speaking at the conference.

“This year’s syndicate sessions will focus on Access to Markets; Brand Management; Agribusiness and Sustainability. New to the conference this year is the Consulting Bar; an extension of the monthly Fate Consulting Clinic, where our alumni business men and women can have one-on-one access to expert advisory support for a period of 30 minutes each”.

She added that, “Given the success of our free monthly Consulting Clinic sessions, we have invited specific institutions that provide and/or are relevant to MSMEs advisory in the following need areas: Legal; Tax; Finance; Human Resources (HR); Digital Marketing Strategy; Communications; Sustainability; Financial Software and Credit Rating”.

Fate Foundation was instituted in 2000 by Founder & Pioneer Managing Director, Guaranty Trust Bank, Fola Adeola,with a mission to foster wealth creation by promoting business and entrepreneurial development among Nigerians.

Since its inception, Fate Foundation has graduated over 5,200 entrepreneurs from its Aspiring, Emerging and Special Entrepreneurs’ Programmes and trained over 40,000 Nigerians in its short entrepreneurship Certificate courses.

Fate Foundation has also enabled over 72,000 Nigerian youths on the path to entrepreneurship. About 65% of its Alumni are actively running their businesses and most are beneficiaries of Fate’s Business and Alumni Support Services.

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EU–Nigeria Forum to Explore Investment Opportunities in ICT, Agribusiness

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(L-r): Ibi Ikpoki, economic officer, EU Delegate; Filippo Amato, trade counselor and head of Trade and Economic section, EU Delegate to Nigeria & ECOWAS; Juan Juse Otamendi, economic and commercial counselor, Embassy of Spain at the EU Nigeria Business Forum pre-event press briefing in Lagos.

The European Union-Nigeria Business Forum will expose attendees to investment opportunities in the information and communication technology (ICT) and agricultural sectors in Nigeria.

During a press conference in Lagos to announce the forthcoming 6th edition of its Forum, scheduled to hold from 5th – 6th of October 2017 at Eko Hotel and Suites, the Group revealed the theme as “Youth as an Engine of Broad-Based Economic Transformation”.

Under the theme, the Forum will beam light on possibilities in the fields, essentially, the role of youths in Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and Agribusiness, which are key sectors to support the growth and diversification of the Nigeria economy.

The Forum will also have specific sessions designed to address agribusiness and developing value chains as well as gender equality and economic empowerment of women as a key factor to sustainable development.

The forum will be a platform for business leaders and policy makers from the European Union (EU) and Nigeria to explore business openings and how to increase investment , with a view to create more jobs, Particularly in the ICT sector and agriculture.

This 6th EU-Nigeria Business Forum aims to identify the key role of youth in Digital Economy and the potentials of ICT in cross cutting themes with experiences shared from the EU.

To strengthen EU and Nigeria’s business relations through identification of opportunities in the agribusiness space in creating jobs, boosting exports and addressing local food security problems.

This year’s Forum is also aimed to identify the opportunities in addressing local infrastructure challenges and establishing an EU-Nigeria dialogue.

The EU-Nigeria Business Forum will also establish a more enabling environment for the fulfillment of women’s right and to achieve real and tangible improvements in gender equality.

They also seek to identify aspirations of young people, youth organizations and networks in view of the upcoming Africa-EU summit.

Filippo Amato, head of trade and economic section, European Union delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, said that “EU-Nigeria trade remains strong, standing at 19.9 billion Euros in 2016, In spite of the significant effect of recession on Nigeria’s trade.

“EU remains the top destination for oil and non-oil exports from Nigeria”, Amato said. European Union-Nigeria Business Forum believes that the success of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) launched by Nigeria in February 2017 depends on active private sector participation, and calls for effective confidence building to attract investors.

They also opined that creating jobs that will stimulate the economy and providing sustainable employment, particularly for young people, is crucial both for the present and future of Nigeria.

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