Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has named the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) as this week’s inductee into its “Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame” for consistently violating the provisions of the FOI Act and operating in secrecy contrary to its own core values, which include transparency and accountability.
The FOI Hall of Shame shines the spotlight on public officials and institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the FOI Act through their actions, inactions, utterances and decisions.
In a statement in Lagos, Mr. Idowu Adewale, MRA’s programme officer, who announced the selection of the Commission as the latest inductee into the FOI Hall of Shame.
He noted that since the passage of the FOI Act into Law in 2011, the Commission has not only failed to carry out its duties and responsibilities under the Act, but has actually been conducting its business in secrecy, thereby undermining the objectives of the Act.
The Commission is an agency of the Federal Government established in 2005 to regulate the operations of lottery business in Nigeria, promote transparency and accountability in the lottery system and protect the interests of players, stockholders and the general public.
Mr. Adewale noted that contrary to Section 2 of the FOI Act which requires all public institutions, including the Commission, to proactively disclose certain types of information to the public and to update these categories of information whenever changes occur as well as to make such information readily available to the public through the various means listed in the Act, namely print, electronic, online methods and at the offices of the institution, the Commission has failed to publish the information that it is required to proactively disclose under this section.
According to MRA, although the Commission says in its mission statement that it is committed to sustainable and transparent lotteries driven by professionalism and leading technologies for social and economic development, and meeting the needs of stakeholders, the Commission’s consistent failure to proactively disclose information relating to its receipt or expenditure of public or other funds and a range of other types of information, as required by section 2(3)(d)(v) of the Act, is contrary to its mission, in addition to violating the clear provisions of the Law.
MRA also accused the Commission of unrepentantly breaching Section 29 of the FOI Act, which places an obligation on all public institutions to submit annual reports to the Attorney-General of the Federation on their implementation of the Act, noting that since the Act was passed into Law nearly seven years ago, the Commission had not submitted any report to the Attorney-General of the Federation or issued any such report for any year.
MRA said in the statement: “Such blatant disregard for a statutory obligation has no place in a system of government characterised by the rule of law. This type of conduct is offensive and is capable of bringing the Government to ridicule as it creates the impression that rules, laws and regulations are of no consequence because public institutions and the officials who superintend over them are at liberty to ignore such rules, laws and regulations. The Federal Government should respond with harsh sanctions to send a clear message to all public institutions that there will be no impunity for public institutions or officials that violate the Law.”
The organisation that “there is no indication whatsoever that the Commission has provided the requisite training for its officials on the public’s right of access to information or records held by the Commission or that it has appropriately trained its officials to effectively implement the Act, as it is required to do by section 13 of the Act”.
It accused the Commission of failing to comply with Section 2(3) (f) of the Act which requires all public institutions such as the Commission to designate an appropriate officer to whom applications for information under the Act should be sent and to proactively publish the title and address of such an officer.
On the issue of the Commission’s responsiveness to requests for information from members of the public, MRA observed that the failure of the Commission to submit its annual reports to the Attorney-General of the Federation has made it virtually impossible to determine the number of applications for access to information that it has received for each year since the Act was passed into Law and the number of such applications that it processed and granted for any particular year or overall.
MRA said there was no justifiable excuse for the Commission’s failure or apparent deliberate refusal to fulfill its duties and obligations under the FOI Act and called on the relevant authorities of the Federal Government to take stern measures to address the situation.
Verve Rewards 600 Customers in Good Life Promo
Africa’s leading payment technology and card brand, Verve International, has rewarded 600 customers so far after the third weekly draws in the ongoing Verve ‘Good Life’ Promo.
Verve rewarded the lucky cardholders at prize presentation ceremonies held in various locations across the country recently.
Amongst the 300 lucky cardholders that emerged winners of the N10,000 cash prize in the weekly raffle draws that have held three times were: Adeleke Moshood, a student from Oyo State; Adeogun Shakiru, an automobile specialist and Rashidat Abolaji, a businesswoman, both from Lagos State.
Another set of 300 Verve cardholders emerged winners of airtime worth N5,000, bringing the total amount won so far to N4.5 million Naira.
Speaking during the draws, Cherry Eromosele, Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Interswitch Group, expressed her delight about the number of cardholders that have been rewarded lately.
Eromosele reiterated Verve’s resolve to continue to provide secure, convenient and reliable payment solutions for its cardholders.
She said: “Because our cardholders are of priority to us at Verve, beyond providing them brilliant payment solutions, we are rewarding them for their loyalty with the expectation that the reward helps them achieve the good life, whatever the good life means to them”.
Verve recently launched a nationwide promo tagged The Verve ‘Good Life’ Promo which kicked off on September 1, 2020 and will run till November 29, 2020.
The promo seeks to enable Verve’s loyal cardholders to live the good life, whatever the ‘good life’ means to them.
The promo is targeted at rewarding over 2,500 Verve cardholders nationwide, with over N27million Naira in cash and airtime, during the course of 12 weeks duration of the promo.
With three weeks concluded out of the twelve weeks of the promo, Verve cardholders have eight more weeks to keep transacting with their cards and standing the chance to win.
Other Nigerians presently without Verve cards but have the desire to enjoy the good life, can take advantage of this eight-week window to ask their respective banks for a Verve card in order to start transacting, to qualify to win from an array of exciting prizes.
The prizes have been categorized into four segments, with their respective qualification requirements as follows:
Weekly Prize category 1 – N10,000 cash for 100 winners weekly, requires at least 3 transactions weekly. Weekly Prize category 2 – N5,000 for 100 airtime every week, requires at least 3 transactions weekly.
Monthly Prize category – N50,000 cash for 50 winners every month, requires at least 12 times monthly Grand Prize category – N1,000,000 cash for 2 winners, requires at least 36 transactions from now till the end of the promo.
Prospective winners of the Verve ‘Good Life’ promo should consistently use their Verve cards within the next eight weeks, across payment channels such as Point of Sale (POS) terminals, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), Web and agent banking centers.
World Cleanup Day: Coca-Cola Partners NGOs, Recovers Over 900kg of Plastic Waste
World Cleanup Day, celebrated globally on September 19, 2020, saw diverse people come together to combat the solid waste problem through numerous community cleanup activities.
To mark this day, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited partnered with two local NGOs – African Cleanup Initiative and Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC), on cleanup activities across Lagos and Ibadan.
African Cleanup Initiative held cleanup activities across numerous locations in Lagos, Ogun and Oyo states. This outreach saw more than 200 volunteers gather to collect over 1,500kg of solid waste materials and about 300kg of recyclable waste materials.
At the Lagos event, the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Ministry of Environment and Water Resources, Mrs Belinda Aderonke Odeneye, applauded the programme.
She expressed the Lagos State Government’s delight at being part of the cleanup activity. Odeneye, who was represented by the Assistant Director, Sanitation Services Department of the Ministry, Mrs Toyin Oguntola, went further to encourage citizens to be environmentally responsible.
She stated, “The government can only perform excellently with law-abiding citizens. We all have a role to play in waste management and ignoring those responsibilities will make all the efforts of the government futile”.
Similarly, the International Coastal Cleanup held at Bonny Camp Coastline by Mental and Environmental Development Initiative for Children (MEDIC) also produced outstanding results with about 600kg of marine plastic waste materials recovered and over 250kg of marine debris sent to the landfill. The outreach saw participation from over 100 volunteers.
These activities are in line with Coca-Cola’s vision for a World Without Waste and the company’s commitment to doing business sustainably.
Speaking on its World Without Waste initiatives, Nwamaka Onyemelukwe, Public Affairs, Communications & Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola Nigeria Limited, explained, “We all have a responsibility to keep our environment clean and Coca-Cola is not left out as we remain committed to promoting a sustainable environment through our plastic recycling and recovery activities, as well as other environmental initiatives”.
With the award of grants of over $800,000 by The Coca-Cola Foundation to multiple local NGOs, several recycling and women empowerment programs are being implemented to help address the issue of environmental protection while simultaneously empowering women who remain significant pillars of the environment.
TETFund Seeks Increased Annual Research Funding of $1bn
The Tertiary Education Trust Fund, TETFund, Thursday, urged the federal to increase its yearly funding for Research and Development (R&D) to $1 billion. This was as it hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for his recent increase of the research grant from N5 billion to N7.5 billion.
Prof. Suleiman Bogoro, executive secretary of TETFund, speaking at the inauguration of TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee in Abuja, said massive investment in research would bring about the much-needed development in the country.
Bogoro also said it was time for the promulgation of a law that will bring into full place what he referred to as the “National R&D Foundation (NRDF)” to deepen research in the country.
Hear him:”To galvanize our vision towards making R&D the ace and game changer in our national development agenda, the need for an appropriate law to support the establishment of a National R&D Foundation (NRDF) cannot be overstated.
“We need a robust institutional framework and arrangement for the NRDF. I am recommending a minimum annual budgetary threshold of 1billion dollars as the funding portfolio for this Foundation.
“When we consider the inevitable benefits of R&D and the inevitable benefits of R&D and the socio-economic challenges in Nigeria, this amount begins to look like a drop of water in the ocean-population of 200 million people in 2020 and projected to become double in 10 years for now.”
Prof. Bogoro, who said the TETFund’s R&D Standing Committee is expected to come up with its own recommendation on the required amount that is suitable for efficient research activities in the country, called for a robust collaboration between researchers and the private sector to bring about all-round development in the country.
“It is envisaged that the private sector of the economy should pick the gauntlet to steamroll the lofty initiative by taking ownership of it,” he said.
Prof. Bogoro lauded the recent performance of Nigerian universities in the world’s ranking, saying TETFund intervention projects have continued to encourage such feats.
On his side, Minister of Education, Malam Adamu Adamu, while inaugurating the committee, called on members to put their best to the work he described as ‘national assignment.’
Represented by the Minister of State for Education, Hon. Chukuemeka Nwajuiba, Adamu said that continued investment in research would herald a rebirth of Nigeria.
“Nigeria voted us into power predicated on our being able to transform our national aspirations and make them a national achievement.
“It is in recognition of this direction that the Executive Secretary, TETFund, presented his vision of a research-driven nation and how to finance that ambition through the Board of Trustees (BOT).
“To a large extent, Nigeria’s future depends on you. You have been summoned to a national service that is not available to the rest of the 200 million population. It is a national calling that requires almost all of you,” he said.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Tertiary Education and Services, Hon. Aminu Suleiman said the work of the committee would open the windows of opportunities to tackle various developmental challenges confronting the country.
Suleiman, represented by Hon. Ikenna Elezieanya, lamented the way Nigeria has shown less concern to research, saying that many developed countries invested in research and development and thus helped to improve on their economy.
He said, “Research is the gateway of innovation. It is said that while countries like the USA, Korea, and the like have been investing in research and development, we seem to show less concern.”
He encouraged beneficiaries to take good advantage of the initiative to solve problems for the betterment of the country.
Responding, the Chairman of the over 160-member TETFund’s R & D Committee, Prof. Njidda M. Gadzama, said the epoch-making event will transform the socio-economic sector by ensuring the robust promotion of cutting-edge innovations.
“We promise to carry out our assignment with commitment and diligence and this will result in the R & D Culture and R&D Foundation to drive industrialization of the country,” he said.
The standing committee whose membership is drawn from the academic, industry, and private sector, has the President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, MAN, Mansur Ahmed, as one of the three Vice Presidents.
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