By Nseobog Okon-Ekong and Mary Ekah
One of the foremost human rights lawyers in Nigeria, Mr. Femi Falana, has argued that there was no law in the country that impedes access of information from government quarter.
Falana who spoke at a seminar at the Excellence Hotel in Lagos Thursday, insisted that with the promulgation of the Freedom of Information Act, the Official Secret Act, is dead.
He told the gathering of journalists at the seminar organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Lagos State Council in conjunction with Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, he was willing to come to the aid of any journalist denied access to information.
Earlier, Chairman of the Lagos State Council of the NUJ, Mr. Deji Elumoye, said the FoI Act ought to offer a broader window of opportunity to practice unfettered journalism.
He regretted that despite the Act, many Nigerians are still encountering difficulties in accessing public records and information.
Elumoye concluded that the over 10 years of struggle to have a law guarantying freedom of information in the country seems to be in vain. According to him, the seminar was organised to brainstorm on a way out of the logjam.
Project Officer, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, Nigeria Office, Mrs. Remi Ihejirika, in her address, wondered how the media had helped to publicise the Act or educate members of the public.
She said this is important to her organisation’s work of promoting social democracy around the world.
Other resource persons who delivered papers at the seminar included Messrs Edeatan Ojo of the Media Rights Agenda, Mr. Lanre Arogundade of the International Press Centre (IPC) and a former Council Chairman of the NUJ, Mr. Dele Odebiyi.
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