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SDI hang heads on the implementation of Access to Information Law

SDI hang heads on the implementation of Access to Information Law

The Society for Democratic Initiatives (SDI), in partnership with the Ministry of Information and Communications this week commenced a two day training workshop at the Presidential Lounge of the National Stadium in Freetown.

Delivering his statement, the Acting Deputy Director in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Mr. Edward K. Yanson reiterated that freedom to access information is a noble phenomenon in the governance structure of a country.  Adding that, the Government speedily enacted the FOI bill  in October last year as it was considered as one of the reforms of the Government of Ernest Bai Koroma . He pointed out that, the law cannot be useful without peoples know how to use it, adding that since its enactment nobody has asked for information from anybody , in fact that was the reason for the workshop to develop good practices.

He discussed that Sierra Leone is part of the global community that is very hasty to implement this law. The Chairman described the training as one a series of workshops they will be organizing, which they promised to take country wide . He urged Information Officers to take the training very seriously as they as organizers are very committed to ensuring it is implemented to the fullest.

In his deliberation, the Deputy Minster of Information and Communications, Hon Theo Nicol stated that the new Sierra Leone talks about discipline, transparency and accountability which he said are attributes that every Sierra Leonean must adopt, adding that Sierra Leone has moved away from what it was in 2007/2008 etc., and mentioned that Sierra Leone is a member of a committee of progressive nationd that also have Freedom of Information law as a major act in their books. The Deputy Minister re-echoed that the new Sierra Leone welcomes every single investor, and furthered that quite recently it took Liberia after three years to implement this law, while Nigeria served eighteen months to implement the FOI law, but Sierra Leone spend just three months to implement this law which he described as a demonstration of transparency to strengthen law and democracy in the country.

Theo Nicol dilated that FOI does not give anybody authority to invade privacy of private citizens as well as foreigners and he demonstrated government’s intention to fund the training for people to have access to information.  In conclusion, he clarified that the bill is not only targeted at public officials as even private officials will be held accountable.

Taking the podium, the SDI Director, Emmanuel Saffa Abdulai reiterated that the campaign for the enactment of the bill took a period of ten years before enactment  adding that, during the period of campaign they lobbied government that, all structures will be put in place  to ensure a good implementation .  The Director emphacized the need to  comply with the legislation.

By Abdulai Mento Kamara

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