Media Rights Agenda (MRA), a civil society group, has inducted the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-Formal Education (NMEC) into its Hall of Shame for its failure to comply with the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.  

The group made this known via a statement released on Monday by its Programme Manager, Mr. Ridwan Sulaimon.  

MRA accused the commission, whose main purpose is “the eradication of illiteracy for national development”, of being "illogical" in its activities and not freely making available information available to its citizens.

"It should be obvious to the management of NMEC that the institution cannot hope to succeed in its task of combating the problems of illiteracy and ignorance within its client population if it does not support and implement a framework such as the FOI Act, which is designed to enhance the free flow of information and to make information freely available to citizens," Sulaimon said.

“NMEC is a statutory Federal Government parastatal charged with the 'responsibility of making literate all those who for one reason or the other did not or cannot benefit from the formal school system'. These include out-of-school youths, children in the street, women in purdah, victims of teenage motherhood (VVF), Nomadic illiterate people, Almajiris and other migrant fishing folks.”

Noting that NMEC has not designated an officer to whom requests for information may be sent, as required by the FOI Act, he also lamented the fact that the commission does not follow trends in communication technology.

“It is surprising that an agency like NMEC, which has been in existence for decades and whose impact cuts across all sectors, does not have a website of its own.  Although web pages are dedicated to it on the website of the Federal Ministry of Education, which is its supervisory ministry, there is no information at all about the organisation or its activities. NMEC has, therefore, not proactively published the 16 categories of information it is required to publish in accordance with Section 2(3) and (4) of the FOI Act.” he said.

He then urged the the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, and the Minister of State for Education, Professor Anthony Anwuka, to take steps to ensure that the NMEC and all other public institutions under the ministry, as well as the ministry itself, which has earlier been inducted into the FOI Hall of Shame, comply with their obligations under the FOI Act.

The FOI Hall of Shame is an initiative of Media Rights Agenda launched in July 2017 to shine the spotlight on public officials and institutions that are undermining the effectiveness of the FOI Act through their actions, inactions, utterances and decisions.

Organizations that have been inducted into the Hall of Shame include The Presidency, the Ministry of Education, Eko Disco, NNPC, National Assembly and the NCAA.

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