Lawyer and Human Rights Activist, Mr Femi Falana, on Monday urged civil society groups to use the Freedom of Information Act to promote good governance in the country.
Falana made the call in Abuja at a round table on anti corruption in Nigeria with the theme: “Roundtable to Address Emerging Issues”.
“I urge civil society groups to take advantage of the Freedom of Information Act to obtain relevant information from government to promote good governance.”
He said that the civil society must brace up to all challenges so as to effectively fight for social justice and respect for human rights in the country.
Falana expressed regret that corruption had taken a cultural dimension in the country, saying “people who are convicted are celebrated by the government officials and religious leaders”.
“This will send wrong notion or information to the younger generation.”
The activist advocated for increased awareness campaign at the grassroots to enable the people understands how corruption negatively affects their living condition.
He expressed concern over the attitude of the nation’s judiciary, which according to him is `` only working in the interest of those that have influence over it''.
Falana disagreed with the call for the reduction of anti corruption agencies, saying government needed to reposition the existing agencies to be more effective in the discharge of their duties.
Earlier, Comrade Segun Shogo, another activist, had suggested that the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) be managed by elected officials.
Shogo argued that this would promote transparency and accountability, as those elected would be bound to account to the electorate.
“When people elect their representatives to manage NNPC, it will promote transparency as leaders can be changed periodically or recalled when the need arises.”
He recalled that since the discovery of oil in 1956, in Oloibiri, Bayelsa, the oil the industry had been dominated by foreigners who pay very little attention to the plight of Nigerians.
Segun maintained that the pervasive corruption in the NNPC was encouraged by the present system, which allows officials to loot public funds “silently”.
He said that the report of the fuel subsidy scam had exposed the ugly situation in the oil sector.