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Ensure domestication of FoI Act in Akwa Ibom, NUJ urges Assembly Speaker

The Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Akwa Ibom State Council, Comrade Amos Etuk, has appealed to the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly to expedite action towards the domestication of the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act in the State.

Etuk made the appeal when he led members of the State Working Committee of NUJ, Akwa Ibom Council on a courtesy visit to the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Udeme Otong on Thursday.

He said the domestication of the FoI Act in the state would help journalists in the state to access information with ease to make public office holders accountable to the people.

The NUJ state chairman disclosed that only 16 states in the country have domesticated the FoI Act, stressing that there is need for others to follow suit.

Etuk added that the domestication of the FoI Act would aid government towards ensuring good governance for the people.

“One critical factor remains and that is the domestication of the Freedom of Information Act. It is our appeal that under your leadership, you will make this history by domesticating the Freedom of Information Act.  

“So that the media can be able to track development of government projects. 

“The media can be able to hold governments accountable, and even in the process enable the House of Assembly to undertake very strong oversight functions based on the agenda from the media.

“As we speak, only 16 states in Nigeria have been able to domesticate the Freedom of Information Act and Akwa Ibom state is not among. 

“The 16 states we are talking about have track record of accountability, of good governance,” Etuk said.

Etuk assured the Speaker and Akwa Ibom people that the media community in the state would continue to work as strategic partners by reporting the government and its activities to enhance good governance and ensure that dividends of democracy get to the people.

He urged government to exercise its constitutional mandate of ensuring the welfare and protection of lives and property of citizens, as the media continue to set the agenda for good governance.

“Let me state that the NUJ in Akwa Ibom State will continue to be strategic in the success story of the ARISE Agenda of His Excellency Gov. Umo Eno. 

“We have only one state and that is Akwa Ibom state, and when we write, we must write to project the ideologies of what the ARISE Agenda stands for. We must write to unite Akwa Ibom state.

“Government  must work to ensure that dividends of democracy get to all the Akwa Ibom people evenly,” he said.

In his response, the Speaker, Hon. Otong assured that the 8th Assembly under his leadership would maintain a cordial working relationship with the media community in the state.

Otong reiterated the commitment of the Assembly to improve on the welfare of members of the assembly press corps through regular trainings and provision of necessary working tools to enhance their performance.

He said that the 8th assembly would continue to make laws that will ensure that government provides the people with dividends of democracy in the state.

He assured that the 8th assembly would have a second look at the freedom of information act to ensure its domestication in the state. 

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