Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice
Abubakar Malami, SAN, Minister of Justice

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved the establishment of Open Government Partnership (OGP) Implementation units in all public institutions as a way to mainstream OGP into government institutions.

The Honourable Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, (HAGF) Abubakar Malami made this known at the Ministerial Roundtable on the Occasion of the Country Visit of OGP International Support Unit to Nigeria, in Abuja, on Tuesday October 8th, 2019.

HAGF said the visit would reaffirm Nigerian’s Government Commitment to OGP and will continue to involve high political leadership in the entire process, that will spark enthusiasm for the next Action Plan across Government and non-State actors partners and motivate other stakeholders to engage in deeping institutional and policy reforms across various sectors..

Representing the HAGF, the Solicitor-General of the Federation/Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Justice, Mr. Dayo Apata, SAN, explained  that Nigeria Joined the OGP in July 2016 to further deepen institutional and policy reforms already initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari Administration.

HAGF further explained that Nigeria OGP 1ST National Action Plan (NAP) was implemented from January, 2017-June 2019, was made up of 14 Commitments around 4 thematic areas ;Fiscal Transparency, Anti-Corruption, Access to Information and Citizen Engagement..

Malami noted the areas OGP has made progress, which includes; Open Budget: the Budget Office of the Federation through consultative process with relevant government agencies and citizens published the Pre-Budget Statement (2018-2020 MTEF/FSP). It has consistently published a Citizen’s Guide to the Budget since 2018.

Speaking on Open Contracting, he said that the Bureau of Procurement (BPP) developed the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO).The portal was designed to ensure improved transparency, prevent corruption and active citizens’ participation through increased disclosure of information to stakeholders. On Anti-Corruption, and establishing Beneficial Register of Owners of Companies, was one of the President’s commitments at the London Anti- Corruption Summit in 2016, and amongst others.

“ Different government agencies and CSOs continued to deploy tech-based interactive platforms to engage citizens and government on various aspects of governance and services delivery such as ;IMonitor by the Budget Office of the Federation, Budeshi by Public and Private Development Company, NOCOPO by Burearu of Public Procurement, IFollowtheMoney by Connected Development, Tracka by BudgIT, and others”, he noted.

HAGF explained that the 2nd NAP was guided by 4 main criteria, such as first commitment must fall within the remit of OGP; second to roll over issues that were not completed in the 1st NAP but have potential for transformative change; third conclude issues that have been raised naturally and globally as necessary for deepening the OGP principles and the Forth is to take on board issues that were suggested from the consultative process.

Malami disclosed that in line with the deadline given to Nigeria to submit her 2nd NAP, to the Support Unit by the end of September2019, the OGP Secretariat forwarded Nigeria 2nd NAP to the Support Unit on the 30th of September 2019 for technical review and feedback.

Speaking, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Open Government Partnership Mr. Sanjay Pradhan in his remarks said that Open Contracts, Transparency and Accountability are the Cardinal Principles of OGP, explaining that Nigeria is the 70th Country to join the OGP.

He disclosed Nigeria’s election election to serve in the Steering Committee, which comprised of 79 Countries and 20 Local Government thereby increased membership to two billion. He added that it was an enthusiastic excitement that Nigeria joined OGP.

‘’OGP is an International and Local Programme, after election, the citizen expected the dividends of Democracy and OGP is one of the Instruments to achieve these promises by the politicians in helping  to deliver through the help of Freedom Of Information (FOI),’’ Pradhan explained.

He said with the implementation of OGP Action Plan, the citizen could demand their right and get what is due to them.

The CEO cited Switzerland and the Philippines as examples where money spent on roads, health, contracts and other infrastructure are made open to the citizen through OGP, hence helps to curb corruption.

Also in attendance were representatives from the Bureau of Public Service Reform, Ministry of Communication, National Budget and Planning, Ministry of Trade and Investment and among others.