MRA introduces the Federal Civil Service Commission into its improved ‘FOI Hall of Shame’

Media Rights Agenda (MRA) on Monday, incorporated the Federal Civil Service Commission (FCSC) into its enhanced Freedom of Information Hall of Shame (FOI) and vowed to take legal action against the Commission for its flagrant breach of its obligations in under the Freedom of Information Act (FOI) in violation of the public’s rights to information.

In a statement issued in Lagos by its Freedom of Information Program Manager, Mr. Ridwan Sulaimon, MRA said that despite its responsibility to oversee a huge federal civil service, the Commission has practically ignored all of its obligations as a public institution according to It is defined by the Freedom of Information Law, thus constantly sending an incorrect signal to other public institutions under its supervision with the result that, unsurprisingly, many of those public institutions and their officials have repeatedly violated the provisions of the law.

Noting that the Commission was established by section 153 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) as a federal executive body empowered to appoint persons to positions in the federal public administration and to remove or exercise disciplinary control over the people who hold that position, Sulaimon said: “This is a great responsibility that requires the Commission, which essentially serves as the government’s engine room, be transparent to protect its integrity and enjoy credibility with those it supervises, as well as comply with all applicable laws and regulations so that you can enforce these and other laws and regulations with respect to public institutions and officials under your supervision.

According to him, “the Commission cannot have credibility in exercising disciplinary control over members of the public service for infractions of the relevant laws and regulations and its efforts in this regard cannot be effective when it itself fails to comply with its duties and obligations under of a Law validly elaborated by the National Assembly.

Hypocrisy in such exercise will be a major obstacle to the performance of the Commission’s functions and the realization of its objectives. “

Sulaimon accused the Commission of not proactively publishing the variety of information and documents that the Law requires it to disclose; refusing to designate an FOI office officer; Failure to provide adequate training to its officials on the public’s right of access to information and for the effective implementation of the Law; and systematically neglecting the presentation to the Attorney General of the Federation of its annual reports on the implementation of freedom of information, all of which are mandatory requirements of the law.

He emphasized that it was evident on the Commission’s website that it violates the requirements of section 2 (3) f of the Freedom of Information Act, which imposes an obligation on all public institutions to proactively publish the title and title. address of the corresponding official. to whom members of the public must submit requests for information under the Act.

“Such a level of impunity should not be tolerated in any decent society and we are surprised that a government that expects ordinary citizens and their officials to obey the law allows a government institution with such massive coordination and oversight roles to get away with it. such blatant disregard for a valid and subsistent law, thus presenting an image of a lawless society and a government that tolerates illegality. “

He added that: “An approach to governance in which government officials and institutions disobey the law, set a bad example for ordinary citizens, and rob the government of both legitimacy and moral authority to enforce any law against citizens.”

It is even more daunting when the law in question is aimed at fostering transparency and accountability in government and when the government involved is one that claims to be advocating a war on corruption. “

Mr. Sulaimon said that MRA was extremely concerned that despite an earlier induction by the Commission into FOI’s Hall of Shame about two years ago in which the organization highlighted its various transgressions, the Commission had made no effort to improve its performance in the implementation of the Freedom of Information Law and had continued to operate with total disregard for the Law.

According to him, given these circumstances, the MRA had no choice but to take legal action to compel the Commission to fulfill its obligations under the Act in accordance with the provisions of the Act.

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