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MRA Inducts Onu’s Science and Tech Ministry into‘FOI Hall of Shame’

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Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, minister of Science and Technology

The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology under the leadership of Dr. Christopher Ogbonnaya Onu has been inducted into the ‘FOI Hall of Shame’ by Media Rights Agenda (MRA) for alleged blatant disregard of the Act Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011 in the past seven years, reports ITRealms.

 

Ms Morisola Alaba, MRA’s Legal Officer, said that “In the last seven years since the enactment of the FOI Act, the ministry has not submitted a single annual report on its implementation of the Law, thus violating section 29 of the Act and the Guidelines for the Implementation of the FOI Act, issued by the Attorney-General of the Federation pursuant to his powers under the Act.”

 

She noted that the ministry whose vision is to make Nigeria one of the acknowledged leaders of the scientifically and technologically developed nations of the world deliberately disregards the FOI Act which is aimed at enabling citizens to be aware of the operations, businesses and activities of Government, including all public institutions, in order to make informed decisions in all aspects of their lives.

 

Although the ministry has published on its website a description of the organisation and its responsibilities, including details of the programmes and functions of each of its departments, it nonetheless failed to publish a list of description of documents containing final opinion including concurring and dissenting opinions.

 

Ms Alaba added that “there is also no indication whatsoever that the ministry has provided the appropriate training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information or records held by the ministry or trained them to effectively implement the Act, as it is required to do by section 13 of the FOI Act.”

 

She further said that the ministry, whose mandate includes acquisition and application of science, technology and innovation contribution to increase agricultural and livestock production; creation of technology infrastructure and knowledge base to facilitate its wide application for development; and application of natural medicine resources and technologies for health sector development, among others has failed to acknowledge the FOI Act in order to make information relevant to its mandate readily available.

 

According to Ms Alaba, the ministry failed to proactively disclose list of files containing applications for any contract, permit, grant, licenses or agreement, reports, documents, studies, or publications prepared by independent contractors for institution; and materials containing information relating to any grant or contract made by or between the institution and another public institution or private organisation, as required by section 2 (3) (e) of the FOI Act.

 

She stated that although the ministry has names and profiles of its management staff on its website, it failed to disclose the names, salaries, titles and dates of employment of all employees of the institution, as required by section 2 (3) (d) (vi) of the Act.

 

Ms Alaba said the ministry also failed to disclose information on documents containing final planning policies, recommendations, and decisions as well as information relating to the receipt or expenditure of public or other funds of the institution in violation of section 2 (3) (iii) and  (v) of the FOI Act.

 

She added: “Although we cannot determine at this point the scale of non-responsiveness by the Ministry to requests for information from members of the public owing to its failure to submit annual reports for 2011 to 2017, which would have provided that vital information, we know for a fact that it has failed to respond to FOI requests from civil society organizations such as the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and Paradigm Initiative.  Instead of providing the information in accordance with the Law, it has opted to waste public funds defending the refusal to disclose the requested information in court.”

 

Ms Alaba  said there was no indication on the ministry’s website or anywhere else that it has designated an appropriate officer to whom applications for information should be sent, and accused the ministry of also violating Section 2(3)(f) of the Act, adding that even the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, the oversight body for the implementation of the FOI Act, which maintains a database of such FOI Desk Officers of public institutions, has no record of compliance by the ministry.

 

Launched by MRA in July 2017, the “FOI Hall of Shame” highlights public officials and institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the FOI Act through their actions, inactions, utterances, and decisions.

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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eMaginations Unveils Fintech Budget-Friendly Press Release Distribution Platform

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eMaginations Comm, Nigeria’s leading technology public relations firm and publisher of Fintech Africa, has unveiled a budget friendly press release distribution platform for Fintech firms in Africa.

 

The budget friendly press release distribution platform, www.fintechafricapressreleases.com, is a self-service website as users can easily upload their press releases on the site unaided while payment for service is also web-driven and covers latest industry updates in FinTech, BankingTech, PayTech, RegTech, WealthTech, LendTech and InsurTech among others.

 

The site, which is hosted at www.fintechafricapressreleases.com connects the fintech firms seamlessly to thousands of professional journalists, influential writers and correspondents who are reporting the fintech beats for mainstream newsrooms and blogs across the continent.

 

In a statement signed by Sola Fanawopo, CEO of eMaginations and Editor-in-Chief of Fintech Africa, the Fintech press releases distribution platform is a product of long and demanding research, which is meant to offer strategic product for the Fintech ecosystem and the industry at large.

 

 

Besides creating different robust platforms to accommodate and engage thousands of Fintech innovators and strategists who peopled the ecosystem in Nigeria and Africa, eMaginations is the number one Fintech content driver that is pushing Fintech thought leadership to the media.

 

“The fintech-focused, self-service and budget-friendly press release distribution platform is one of the ways we are serving the Fintech ecosystem and Fintech firms in Nigeria and Africa. Our focus is on developing strategic services to serve the Fintech ecosystem through adopting different approaches such as bespoke events, Whatsapp-based engagements, web-driven platform and  magazine”, Fanawopo said.

 

The fintech press release distribution platform is built to address public relations needs of most Fintech firms and IT startups that are bootstrapping and conscious of their budget and; as such cannot afford the services of the traditional public relations agencies but are “desirous of telling their stories, celebrate milestones and share their perspectives on the growth and development of the fintech sector”.

 

In addition to other benefits, user’s press release would also be published on Fintech Africa (www.financialtechnologyafrica.com) and would be distributed to all leading stakeholders in the industry via Fintech Africa’s newsletter.

 

The fintech, budget friendly press release distribution platform is a partner to major organizers of fintech events and conferences and these partners would cover events, write and share reports to the media via www.fintechafricapressreleases.com.

 

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Airtel in Talks to Buy Telkom

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Bharti Airtel is in talks to buy Telkom Kenya, the East African nation’s smallest telecoms operator, to create a stronger challenger to market leader Safaricom, according to Reuters on Monday.

London-based Helios Investment, which owns a 60 percent stake in Telkom, is looking to partly cash out of the investment which it entered in 2015, the sources said.

Airtel, currently Kenya’s second-biggest telecoms operator, declined to comment. Number three Telkom was not immediately available to comment.

The move comes after the two companies held merger talks last year, only for them to abandon the plan. Telkom made the approach that time.

“Airtel is in the driving seat. They are leading the talks. Helios is partially cashing out,” said one of the sources.

The deal is expected to be completed by the end of this quarter, the sources said.

The sector regulator Communications Authority of Kenya said it was yet to be formally notified by the two operators of the latest attempt at a deal.

 

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Lagos Guber debate: ICT, security, education, others take centre stage

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Information technology, Security, education, health and fight against corruption were among areas that took the centre stage of discussion at the gubernatorial debate organised by the Diocese of Lagos West (Anglican Communion) on Monday.

 

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the governorship debate, held at the Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral, Ikeja had in attendance 12 gubernatorial candidates of Lagos State.

 

The governorship candidates harped on the need to improve on these sectors, being the indices of development and improvement on the economy of the state.

 

Mr Awamaridi Ifagbemi, governorship candidate of Labour Party (LP),  said that the party would fully commit itself to restructuring the educational sector by granting free adult compulsory education to all.

 

He also promised free internet connection throughout Lagos State, noting that people, especially the students, need information for the 21st century learning.

 

The Advanced Nigeria Democratic Party (ANDP) candidate, Dr Segun Musa said that his party would focus on the Blue Economy, which is a way to harness the abundance of waterways in Lagos.

 

“We need to develop the Blue Economy which is our natural habitat, the water in Lagos. We need to open up the waterways for fishing, tourism, transportation and agriculture,’’ he said.

 

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Mr Jimi Agbaje, said that his election agenda was based on a tripod of Livability, Economy and the Future.

 

 

“We need to make Lagos State livable to all by providing all the basic amenities needed in the state. The transport section must be improved upon and there should be reduction in the man-hour loss in the traffic.

 

“We also need to make our graduates employable through provision of 21st century information technology that will give them an edge.

 

“There should be internet in every school for our school children. I see this as possible in Lagos,’’ he said.

 

The All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Mr Babajide Sanwo-Olu said that consolidation on the existing programmes of the state would be his priority.

 

“Lagos State is already blessed with abundance resources, so what we need to do is to consolidate on the existing programmes. We will improve upon what we have.

 

“We need to improve on our transportation system, education system by providing free internet service in our schools and other things.

 

“We have to improve on the training of our teachers by giving them training as a 21st century empowerment. We also need to collaborate with the private sector on the improvement of our power sector,’’ he said.

 

NAN reports that other candidates present at the gubernatorial debate include that of Labour Party, Prince Awamaridi Ifagbemi; Action Democratic Party (ADP), Mr Babatunde Gbadamosi; and National Conscience Party (NCP), Ven. Funsho Awe.

 

Others are: African Democratic Congress (ADC), Mr Muyiwa Fafowora; Alliance National Party (ANP), Mr Ladipo Johnson; Young Progressive Party (YPP), Mrs Adebisi Ogunsanya; Social Democratic Party (SDP), Mr Adetokunbo Pearse and Alliance for Democracy (AD) Mr Owolabi Salis.

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