Kaduna (Nigeria) – The Nigerian governments have been charged to make its information accessible to the public as it forms an essential ingredient which promotes democracy and accountability in governance.
United States (US) Ambassador to Nigeria, James Entwistle gave the charge at a two day Workshop for Government Spokespersons of Northern governors – organized by the US Embassy in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
He said, “Open and unfettered access to information is the essential ingredient that promotes democracy and accountability in governance”.
Entwistle explained that an effective government press operating unit is critical in communicating clear and timely information to the public about government policies and actions which could help to shape public knowledge and perceptions of government – through the media.
He posited that government spokespersons have great responsibilities which require effectiveness through skills updating. He said, “Your ability to do this job effectively in a fast-paced, technology-driven world requires frequently updating of your skills. And to help impart this knowledge, we’ve brought Eduardo Cue, a Paris-based, American senior media consultant and journalist who also has experience as a government (UN) spokesperson.”
While declaring the workshop open, Kaduna state Governor,Nasir El-Rufai, represented by his deputy, Barnabas Bala Bantex urged spokespersons of government to liaise with the media in disseminating information to the public.
He said “we are committed to transparency and we are committed to provision of the constitution particularly as it regards to the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state polices particularly the participation of the people in government.
“We have sign into an open budget, were people can track everything we are doing and pursue their naira to its logical destination.
“All we are asking for is not to cover for anything we are doing wrong, if there is any, and to project what we are doing to the people.”
National President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Abdulwaheed Odusile in a remark, commended the US government for initiating the workshop.
He tasked government Spokespersons to always make government information open and accessible to the public to make them abreast with government policies and activities.