Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 28 March 2018 | 1,512 times
The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, has called on fellow cabinet Ministers, heads of departments and agencies to show commitment to Nigeria’s open government partnership (OGP).
This, according to him, would in no small measure, assist President Muhammadu Buhari in achieving the goals set out in the National Action Plan (NAP).
Malami, who is also the co-chair of Nigeria’s OGP initiative, made the appeal on Tuesday, at the 3rd National Steering Committee meeting of the Open Government Partnership (OGP), held at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja.
He equally urged citizens to make conscious efforts to engage with OGP initiatives and, in the process, call government to question.
According to him, “The government under the leadership of President Buhari is operating a transparent and open government for the purpose of accommodating the citizens to ensure there is adequate transparency and accountability in the business of governance. But there should be people that will call government to questions; that will seek to know and who are entitled to information. Nigerians should participate actively in the process of OGP.
“It therefore suffices to say that the preoccupation of the OGP initiative is clearly meant to give citizens greater access to government information,” he said.
While interacting with journalists at the meeting, the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, indicated that the whole idea of the initiative is to make governance a transparent system where citizens can have confidence that they will have access to whatever information they need on how government is run.
He added that by this, “citizens would be able to communicate with government in such a manner that their government is run more efficiently, transparently, accountably.”
Speaking further, Shittu disclosed that a lot of government information is hidden in files and bookshelves while people are hardly able to access them but with Information and Communication Technology (ICT), the quest to eliminate bureaucratic bottlenecks and bring government closer to the people will be achieved.
He also admitted that the federal government is putting measures in place to begin full-scale operation of paperless systems.
Speaking on the efficacy of ICT in enhancing OGP, he said: “We must generally accept that ICT is a new phenomenon in Nigeria. We are just making effort to make sure we localise and internalise it in our budgeting and other systems, and in doing so, there must certainly be challenges. Even individuals in the civil service who are used to files and papers might have problem of really changing but with the submission of government, governance will be a paperless system.
“Whether in the urban areas or rural areas with access to internet, every Nigerian should be able to have access to government information.”
He added that the paperless initiative by the federal government was expected to be duplicated in the states, saying “as far as possible, states must ensure that they follow suit. So, whatever government is doing at the federal level by way of access for the citizenry, they must also derive the same benefits from the government they voted for at the state level and the local government levels.”
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