Nigeria: House of Representatives pledge commitment to Freedom of Information Bill

By Shout-Africa’s Nigerian Correspondent Chinyere Ogbonna – The Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives, Honourable Aminu Tambuwal, has pledged the commitment of the House to the full implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.

Honourable Tambuwal gave the assurance during a meeting with a delegation from Canada, lead by the Canadian high commissioner, Chris Cooter and Suzanne Legault, the Canadian Federal Commissioner for Information.

He also stated that “for effective implementation of the FOI Act, the House is committed to constituting a Committee on Reform of Government Institutions and Processes as provided for in the FOI Act”.

Tambuwal decried the difficulties being experienced by Nigerians in securing Visa to Canada and urged the Canadian envoy to ensure that the tradition was reversed.

“It is worthy to note that the bilateral relations between Nigeria and Canada have been developed out of years of cooperation and historical association within the ambit of the Commonwealth Association and United Nations System. Nigeria is Africa’s second market for Canada after South Africa,” he said.

According to to the speaker, “There are challenges to this relationship. Nigeria has suffered bad publicity in Canadian Media due to unacceptable behaviours of a few Nigerians as well as other local challenges in the country. Secondly, Visa restriction to Nigerians who have genuine business to conduct in Canada is identified as a major snag in our relations.”

Legault said her country was earnestly interested in the actual implementation of the Freedom of Information Act, noting that the Canadian government attaches much importance to Freedom of Information that it established an independent agency to ensure compliance with that country’s FOI Act.

The Canadian high commissioner, Chris Cooter said signing the Freedom of Information Act into law is a step forward for the country, a step that must be backed by implementation.