Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has condemned media reports that the Ministry is not in compliance with the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) 2011.
Spokesperson of the ministry, George Ehidiamen Edokpa, while reacting to the reports, condemned in strong terms, insinuations that the Ministry has consistently breached most of its duties and obligations under the FOI Act over the last seven years.
He said it was pertinent to clarify that the Ministry is in compliance with the provisions of the FOI Act and carried out its responsibilities proactively in line with the provisions of the Act to protect and project the image of the country and foreign policy agenda.
Recall that the Media Rights Agenda (MRA), through its legal officer, Ms. Chioma Nwaodike, announced earlier in a statement in Lagos, the induction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs into its FOI Hall of Shame which was launched in July, 2017.
MRA said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs overlooked its responsibilities under the FOI Act for most of the past seven years in a manner that meant gross dereliction of duty.
But Edokpa said: “Contrary to the misleading report, there is a desk officer in the Ministry assigned to handle requests under the FOI Act.
“The Ministry also engages in periodic and systematic dissemination of relevant information to the public, of its activities and programmes through regular press briefings, as well as press releases organised by the Crises Monitoring and Public Communications Division.”
Edokpa further said the mandate, structure and organisation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were clearly provided in the Ministry’s website, adding that “that falls under proactive disclosure of information under the FOI Act.”
According to Edokpa, “Such information is also contained on the websites of Nigerian Missions around the globe and on notice boards as the case may be.
“The Ministry also receives and responds to enquiries sent to its official email: [email protected]”
He further urged the public to disregard the allegation that the ministry is not in compliance with the FOI Act.