The International Press Centre (IPC) and Media Rights Agenda (MRA) on Wednesday, September 15, 2021 issued calls for entries from individuals and organizations in Nigeria for their National Freedom of Information (FOI) Awards and for a National FOI Essay Competition for mass communication and journalism undergraduates of Nigerian universities as part of activities to commemorate the 10th year anniversary of the signing of the FOI Bill into Law by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011.
According to the organizations, the FOI Awards are designed to recognize and reward individuals, organizations and public institutions that have made significant contributions towards the advancement of the right to information in Nigeria as well as in ensuring the effective implementation of the FOI Act, while the essay competition is aimed at encouraging mass communication and journalism undergraduates to examine the impact of the FOI Act in enhancing participatory democracy under the topic: “Deepening Democracy, the Impact of FOI Act 10 Years After.”
In a statement issued in Lagos by IPC’s Executive Director, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, and his MRA counterpart, Mr. Edetaen Ojo, the organizations explained that the FOI Awards will be in four categories, namely:
• The Individual Category, which will honour an individual that has made the highest number of requests for information under the FOI Act to public institutions or private entities to which the Act applies, between May 29, 2015 and October 31, 2021;
• The Organizational Category, which will honour a news organization, any other type of organization, company, association, institution, group, or other types of corporate entity that has made the highest number of requests for information under the FOI Act to public institutions or private entities to which the Act applies, between May 29, 2015 and October 31, 2021;
• A Public Institution FOI Best Practice Recognition, which will be conferred on a public institution adjudged to be most responsive to requests for information from members of the public under the FOI Act and that has adopted innovative and access-friendly practices and procedures to ensure public right of access to information in Nigeria;
• A Special Recognition, to be given to an individual adjudged to have made a substantial and lasting contribution towards advancing the right to information in Nigeria over the last 10 years.
Mr. Arogundade and Mr. Ojo said the winners of the awards and essay competition will be announced and honoured at an award ceremony, which will take place in Abuja on this year’s International Human Rights Day, Friday, 10 December, 2021.
The awards and essay competition are organized with support from the European Union through component 4b: Support to Media of the European Union Support to Democratic Governance in Nigeria (EU-SDGN) Project.