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Centre Ranks MDGs In Akwa Ibom Low On Complaint With FOI Requests

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Ministries, Departments and Agencies in Akwa Ibom State have been ranked low for ignoring or outrightly refusing to honour Freedom Of Information (FOI) requests.

Working in partnership with Akwa Ibom Access to Information Team, the Public and Private Development Center (PPDC)  stated this in Uyo on Thursday, during the second sub-national Freedom of Information Act Compliance and Transparency Rankings, to mark the International Day for Universal Access to Information.

The Programmes Officer, Extractive,  Policy Alert, Mr. Mfon Gabriel, who spoke on behalf of the CEO of Public and Private Development Center, alleged that the Akwa Ibom State government was paying lips service to transparency and accountability as evidenced in their refusal to honour citizens’ requests for information.

Gabriel said the ranking of 24 MDAs in the state gave statistics that showed most public offices were yet to understand the importance of access to information even with section 48 (5) of the Fiscal Responsibility Law (2020) of Akwa Ibom State, which empowers citizens to make such requests and mandates the government to oblige them.

“We conducted a ranking and from our findings, many MDAs in the state continues to ignore or outrightly refuse to honour FOI requests. Most public offices are yet to come to terms with the importance of access to information.

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“It appears that the state is just professing transparency and accountability as governance ideals while refusing to honour requests for information from the citizens, civil society, or the media.

“We use the opportunity of this year’s International Right to Know Day to urge state actors in the region to be more responsive to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and to more proactively provide public information on government websites.

“It is also important to note that some states of the Niger Delta have within their Fiscal Responsibility Law provisions that mandate them to comply with requests for information. For instance, section 48 (5) of the Fiscal Responsibility Law (2020) of Akwa Ibom State mandates the government to oblige requests for information.

“The section states “No official secrets law, rule or practice shall operate or be invoked or relied upon by any person to deny, limit or in any way negatively affect the exercise of the right to information conferred by this Law or the Freedom of Information Act upon any person, group, persons, institution, body or agency.

“Section 52 (3) of the law states the penalty for failure to honour such a request. We call on civil society and media organisations to make effective use of this provision in addition to the FOI Act 2011 to demand transparency and accountability.

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“We use the opportunity of this year’s International Right to Know Day to urge state actors in the Akwa Ibom to be more responsive to Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and to more proactively provide public information on government websites,” he stated.

Gabriel mentioned that ironically, results from the survey ranked the Ministry of Information and Strategy at the 15th position and the Government House at the 20th position on the proactive disclosure of information, the responsiveness to requests, and the level of disclosure.

According to the 2022 Sub-national Ranking conducted by the PPDC, the Ministry of Transport and Solid Minerals emerged 1st position in the state, out of  24 MDAs ranked based on the proactive disclosure of information, the responsiveness to requests, and the level of disclosure.

“The Ministry of Lands and Water Resources and the Ministry of Justice emerged 2nd, while Akwa Ibom State Bureau of Public Procurement emerged 4th after taking 1st position in the 2021 ranking.

“The Ministry of Education emerged in the 5th position, while 9 MDAs shared the 6th position; 2 shared the 15th position, and 1 had the 17th position, while 7 MDAs shared the 20th position.

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“Government House, Uyo, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economic Development, Akwa Ibom State Committee on Foreign Direct Investment, Ministry of Environment and Solid Minerals, as well as the Ministry of Science and Technology all, came last in the 2022 FOI ranking”, he stated.

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Group Calls For Protection Of Journalists In Bayelsa, Imo, Kogi States

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The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has urged for necessary measures to protect journalists and other media workers during this weekend’s off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi States.

The group sent the request to the federal and state governments, as well as law enforcement and security agencies, stressing that the role of journalists in disseminating information about the electoral process is critical to ensuring free, fair, and transparent elections.

In a statement issued ahead of the elections in Lagos and signed by the Communications Officer, Media Rights Agenda, Idowu Adewale, MRA also urged journalists to be cautious and to use its existing hotline (08138755660) to report any threat or attack they may encounter during the process, as well as any obstacle.

Adewale said in the statement: “Given the pattern of heightened attacks on journalists and the media during previous elections, including the recent 2023 general elections, as well as the tense political climate in the three states in the lead-up to the elections, measures must be taken to ensure general security during the elections and provide adequate protection for journalists covering the elections.”

“Access to information allows citizens and other members of the public to have the information they need about political and electoral processes, facilitating effective public participation in elections,” he says.

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“Journalists and the media play an important role in ensuring residents and other members of the public have access to information and may participate in the process.

“As part of efforts to preserve the integrity of the polls, it is also critical that the safety and well-being of these interlocutors be assured and safeguarded.”

Lamenting the increased number of attacks on journalists in the run-up to the off-cycle elections, as well as earlier this year in the run-up to the general elections, he emphasised that “a free and vibrant media is fundamental to a healthy democracy, and journalists must be able to carry out their duties without fear, coercion, or violence.” During this vital phase, MRA stands ready to assist them and assure their safety.”

 

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Police Nab Husband, As Mother Of ‘Mummy Be Calming Down’ Boy Takes Own Life

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Men from the Edo State Police Command are said to have detained Mrs. Toluige Olokoobi’s husband after he allegedly murdered her.

Olokoobi was the mother of Oreofeoluwa Lawal-Babalola, the tiny boy whose video went viral in 2020 after he pleaded with his mother, “Mummy be calming down.”

Oreofeoluwa rose to prominence on social media after a video of him crying in an attempt to confidently appeal to his mother, who chastised him, went viral.

The film inspired Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who used it to deliver an Eid-el-Kabir appeal to Muslims and Lagos people in general to remain calm during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Following that, the youngster and his family met with the governor, who praised his bravery and poise.

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While little has been heard about the family in three years, heartbreaking news broke on social media on Tuesday that the boy’s mother had committed suicide.

According to an X user, Olokoobi committed suicide in Benin, the capital of Edo State, for unknown reasons.

The X user, who stated that he was present at the site on Monday afternoon, went on to say that she had refused to disclose her difficulties with anyone before committing herself.

“The woman in the viral Mummy Calm Down video has just committed suicide here in Benin,” he stated in an email.

“She refused to discuss her problems with anyone.” She abandoned three children for her husband, including the well-known Mummy Calm Down boy.”

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Meanwhile, confirming Olokoobi’s death in a chat with BBC Pidgin, the spokesperson of the Edo State police command, Chidi Nwabuzor, said her husband has been arrested and detained for questioning.

Nwabuzor said the husband reported the matter to the police.

The police spokesperson quoted the husband to have said that “he came home from the market when he saw his wife hanging with rope on her neck”.

Nwabuzor said she was rushed to the hospital and then to the mortuary after she was confirmed dead. (Adapted from a Vanguard report).

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Anambra: CP Aderemi Adeoye Decorates Promoted Officers With New Ranks

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The Anambra State Police Command Headquarters Conference Hall was a hive of activity Thursday as CP Aderemi Adeoye took turns decorating around 18 promoted officers of the command with their new titles.

The delight of some of the officers whose wives assisted the CP in decorating their husbands with their new ranks knew no bounds, as their husbands duly saluted their wives and the CP for their new positions and responsibilities.

Obi Innocent, one of the officers elevated to the rank of Chief Superintendent of Police (CSP), whose wife joined CP Aderemi Adeoye in adorning him with his new rank, said it was wonderful that the Inspector General of Police thought him worthy.

CSP Obi Innocent, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13, Police Zonal Headquarters Ukpo, stated that his new rank was a call to service and that he would do his best to uphold the charge given to them by CP Aderemi Adeoye to respect and protect the citizenry’s fundamental rights in the discharge of their new assignments.

Charity Akharame, who was honoured with the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) and was the only female officer among the 18 promoted officers decorated with new ranks, said it was not an easy feat but she was grateful to be among those who were decorated with their new ranks.

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DSP Charity Akharame, the officer in charge of stores in the Anambra State Police Command, recalled how she began as a Police Constable and worked her way up to her current position as Deputy Superintendent of Police.

She stated that as a very disciplined police officer, she would follow the Police Commissioner’s directions regarding respect for all and sundry in the fulfillment of her constitutional obligations.

Jane-Frances Obi, one of the spouses of the officers elevated to the level of CSP, stated that being the wife of a police officer was not an easy assignment. As a result, she recommended any lady who is married to a police officer to be patient and understanding because the job is quite demanding.

Jane-Frances Obi, whose husband is Innocent Obi, the officer in charge of the Legal Department at Zone 13 Ukpo, believes the promotion is a reward for years of being patient, understanding, and standing in for them when they are not present.

Meanwhile, Emenike Chinenyenwa, who was decorated with the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) and presented a vote of appreciation, expressed deep gratitude to the IGP and the Chairman of the Police Service Commission for considering them worthy of being adorned in their new ranks.

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ACP Emenike, the officer in charge of Medicals, stated that the elevation comes with increased responsibility and that they will work harder in their new tasks.

CP Aderemi Adeoye praised the current promotion winners in his remarks, noting that two aspects make the police career very interesting and eventful. He stated that one is for promotion and the other is for positions.

CP Adeoye, on the other hand, urged the newly honored officers to develop more empathy, compassion, care, and dedication in the performance of their jobs.

The police chief insisted that newly promoted officers must first recognise that they share the same humanity as others, and as a result, they must treat all people with dignity and protect their fundamental human rights at all times.

CP Aderemi Adeoye stressed that without the enormous roles of spouses, they wouldn’t have been successful in their careers. He therefore congratulated all the promoted and prayed that God gives them good health to enjoy the new ranks and the energy to discharge the responsibilities of their new offices.

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  • Source: Independent

 

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