Media Professionals Urged To Utilize FOI Act For Industry Good

R-L: Prince Olayiwola Shittu,Fmr ANLCA President,Mr Asu Beks,Fmr MARAN president & Newly elected NUJ Chairman Lagos state,Mr Adeleyke Ajayi

By Sandra Chukwunyere

Media professionals in the industry have been advised to make use of the great opportunity made available for them by the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act in the discharge of their duties.
A maritime expert, Mr Emeka Okoroanyanwu  made the appeal on Thursday at the hosting of  Mr Adeleye Ajayi, Chairman, Nigerian Union of Journalist by the Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN) in Lagos.
He spoke on; National Development: The Challenges of and Prospects for the Proper Implementation of the Freedom of Information Act in Nigeria’s Maritime Industry.
According to Okoroanyanwu, the FOIA  is an Act of government to make public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information, protect public records and information to the extent and consistent with the public interest and protect personal privacy.
He said that this was while also protecting serving public officers from adverse consequences of disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorization and established procedures.He noted that utilising the act would ensure transparency in the running of public institutions, enable citizens to hold government accountable in the case of breach of trust or failure to deliver public services.
“The FOI Act provides free flow of credible information about how government in the country is being run. This will enable the citizens to make informed decisions and choices.
“It makes possible credible evaluation of government policies and overall performance of government, engenders transparency and accountability in governance and help to eliminate corruption, underdevelopment and political instability,” he said.He however, decried over the secrecy going on in some government agencies, challenging Journalist through the information Act  to bring these information to the public.
He said that  an effective right to information promotes citizens participation and an informed populace, it builds trust in government by preventing rumors and fake news from spreading and it can help to combat corruption and promote effective and efficient governance.In his goodwill message, Mr Sesan Onileimo, former president of MARAN said that when the maritime association was one body, they were well respected and called for uniformity.
Mr Valentino Bro, also a former president called for the training and retraining of members and the need to have an inward reflection of what MARAN would be.Also Mr Ray Ugochukwu pointed out that Adeleye was someone that could not hurt, cheat it quarrel with anyone and also a go-getter and deserves the reception.Ajayi in his response said that he feel satisfied and happy, adding that the reception accorded him show signs of reward of hardowrk, commitment to my reporting in the maritime industry for more than ten years as a News Agency of Nigeria reporter, editor and controller. 

“It is good to be well committed and determined when one is placed on a beat and to put in his or her best.“I am happy that MARAN is honouring me, there are so many people to be honoured but I have been singled out for this great privilege and this is not just for me having being the NUJ chairman but also my great achievements  in MARAN.“My message is for the president to put more effort in training  members for them to be better in future and be able to get foreign jobs,” he said.
On the issue of the many associations in the industry, he said that he was working on how to bring the various fractions that have moved out from MARAN so that they can be one again or have an umbrella body that can regulate the association.

L-R: Mr Okey Ibeke, Publisher of Business and Maritime Magazine West Africa,Mr. Anya Njoku,MARAN President,Mr Adeleyke Ajayi,NUJ Chairman Lagos state,Mr. Innocent Chukwu, Publisher of Tentacle Magazine & Mr. Ray Ugochukwu,MAJAN President at Maritime Reporters Association of Nigerian in Lagos on Thursday.

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