BY MARK ITSIBOR, Abuja –
Attorney General of the Federation and minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami has challenged media practitioners to stick to facts in their reportage and ensure that they refrain from spreading information from unverified sources. “You should try to do your work with all sense of professionalism and ethics that guide your noble profession,” the AGF said while addressing participants from government, media and civil society organisations at the Open Government Partnership Media Dialogue with the theme: “Advancing Good Governance and Open Society Through Information Sharing” in Abuja.
Speaking through OGP national coordinator, Barrister (Mrs.) Juliet Ibekaku-Nwagwu who represented him at the event, Mr. Malami said under the citizens’ engagement area, “government is creating technology driven platforms for proactive disclosure of information to enable the media and citizens learn about our programmes and projects to enable them ask the right questions.”
The Open Government Partnership is an international reform initiative to make governments accountable and responsive to the needs of citizens. Formed in 2011 by eight countries, the OGP now has over 70 countries as members, with Nigeria joining it in 2016. One of its key principles is equal participation of all civil societies alongside government in the business of governance.
Stating that the current administration takes feedbacks and concerns raised by stakeholders on any of its policy pronouncements seriously, the minister of Justice promised, “We will do everything within our power to be responsive to these demands.”
“We will continue to improve our methods of citizens’ engagement while ensuring that the principles of co-creation and co-governance are preserved. We will continue to build trust with citizens and civil societies to deepen our democracy and build a country where accountability and transparency gradually becomes an integral part of our daily lives,” he said.
In his presentation, OGP media adviser, Uche Igwe said OGP was domesticated in Nigeria to ensure that justice is entrenched; democracy is deepened, with focuses on improving government transparency, accountability and responsiveness to citizens. Mr. Igwe said, OGP Nigeria is unique from previous consultative forums of civil societies-government because it “Is developed through a consultative and participatory process developed according to country context.”
Civil Society Adviser, OGP Nigeria Secretariat, Stanley Achonu remarked that the collaboration of citizens, civil society, political and official champions and other stakeholders is essential to developing, securing and implementing lasting open government reforms.
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