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AMBROSE ALLI UNIVERSITY (AAU) EMBRACES OPEN GOVERNMENT PARTNERSHIP

As part of the activities to celebrate OGP Week 2019, Freedom of Information Counsel partnered with Lex Entrepreneur to train 200 academic and non-academic staff.  The training was centred on Freedom of Information Act 2011, Public Procurement Act and Public Service Ethics for 2 days each for both academic and non-academic staff. The trainings were declared open by the Vice Chancellor Prof. Ignatius Onimawo. In his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor Prof. Ignatius Onimawo recalled the opportunity he had to participate in a similar training on public procurement process which was organized by committee of Vice Chancellors and National University Commission in Lagos and added that the activity exposed him to the dictates of Public Procurement Act and the sanctity of his roles as the institution’s accounting officer his spending limit.

The faculty for the training include President Aigbokhan of Freedom of Information Counsel, Benin City, Salman Tunde of Good Governance Team, Abuja and Chris Oguala of Prime Solicitors, Abuja. Some of the issues that arose from the training include why farming is the only business civil servants can undertake and how can one know the intention of the giver of gifts. By a post-training review conducted, the participants were more excited about the training on Code of Conduct for Public Officers. The training for academic was slated for 5th and 6th March 2019 and for non-academic it was slated for 12th and 13th day of March 2019.

As part of the question and answer section of the interaction, the Chief Nursing Officer of the University asked if someone can be held liable for not disclosing monies in a dormant account by the Code of Conduct Bureau. The answer was that the Bureau cannot hold anyone liable for not disclosing a non-functional account except it can be shown that the account was deliberately made to be mute for dubious reason.

As part of the recommendation to the Vice Chancellor by the faculty after the training, is for the University to set up FOI Desk to be manned by a deputy director and to include FOI portal in the University website. At the end of the training sessions, the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Ignatius Onimawo was conferred with Open Government Ambassador Award conferred on him by Freedom of Information Counsel for giving the team the opportunity to train its staff and thereby making the environment Open Government ready.

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