On Saturday 6th March 2021, the eleventh Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising hundreds of events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme.
Our Open Data Day event centered on the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which is a law in Nigeria that stipulates that the people have the right to access classified information from the government provided it does not endanger security of lives and properties.
Our focus was specifically on gender budgeting with respect to the issues of accountability and transparency. We engaged 15 civil society organisations including the Executive Director of Widows Lifeline, the wife of the first president of Nigeria (Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe) Prof. Uche Azikiwe and five members of our own organisation in the event.
Though this law which is rooted in other international laws, you find that implementation remains a problem. The event was marked by a presentation from the ED of Equity Watch Initiative, Dr. Chiemezie Atama, which was followed by an interactive session, then questions and answers. The presentation focused on what FOIA is all about, states where it has been domesticated, FOIA as an advocacy tool, how it relates to the issues of accountability and transparency, gender budgeting and implementation, monitoring and follow up mechanisms as well as the the role of CSOs. It was a clarion call for all CSOs in Nsukka to follow up and monitor gender budgeting and implementation to ensure accountability and good governance.
To what extent do Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) applies in Nigeria, Particularly with respect to gender budgeting and accountability? This was our focus today @EWIN as we celebrate Open Data day. @OKFN, @ODIHQ @SonkeTogether @GlobalSpotlight @MenNigeria pic.twitter.com/zuljtmzL3w— Equity Watch Initiative (@Equity_Watch1) March 6, 2021
At the end of the programme, the participants were asked to state what they learnt and this is a summary of their responses:
Because it is about creating awareness on the importance of making data open to the public. This for me encourages accountability and transparency.