INEC Pledges To Comply With FOI Act

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has unveiled the reversed edition of its communication policy with a pledge to comply with Freedom Of Information Act (FOI).

The communication policy, with its maiden edition inaugurated in 2013, provided guidance on standards for the commission in the management of its internal and external communications.

The purpose of the communication policy is to ensure that communications within the commission, between the commission and the public are well managed to be responsive to diverse information needs of the public.

The commission, in the 56-page document made available to newsmen on Sunday, pledged to comply with provisions of the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, to enhance transparency and accountability

It noted that the Act applied to INEC and that the commission was under a legal obligation to comply with the Law and fully implement it.

“INEC fully intends to comply with the provisions of the FOI Act, as this will further enhance its transparency and accountability.

“This will also reinforce its public image of integrity and credibility as well as strengthening public trust and confidence in the commission.

“The framework for the disclosure of information to members of the public under the FOI Act will therefore form an integral part of the Communication Policy of the Commission,” it said.

The commission said that in compliance with the Act, it would set up a Freedom of Information Unit and designate a senior official of at least Assistant Director level, as the head of the Unit.

It stated that the unit would have direct responsibility for reviewing or considering applications for information from members of the public.

It added that the unit would determine what records, documents or information should be disclosed as well as generally ensuring compliance with the provisions of the Act through the adoption of institutional best practices.

The policy also aimed at ensuring the effective participation of women in the entire electoral process, including exercising their rights to vote and be voted for.

On Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs), the policy objectives are to ensure effective participation of specially-abled persons in the entire electoral process, including exercising their rights to vote and be voted for.

In his foreward, INEC Chairman Mahmood Yakubu said that for the commission to succeed in discharging its constitutional responsibilities, there was need to have an efficient and effective communication policy.

“The commission took a decision to revise its communication policy to take into account these changes.

“The revised policy contained in this document has incorporated new techniques, multiple platforms and monitoring templates for the attainment of the objectives contained in the commission’s strategic plan.

“I believe the document will not only build on past achievements, it will also enable the commission to apply modern techniques with adequate provisions for feedback for better and more effective communication.

“The citizen will be better informed, encouraged and mobilised to participate in the electoral process in an all-inclusive, efficient and effective manner.’’ he said.(NAN)

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