The Deputy Commander Operations and Intelligence in the Agency Mr. Kayode Raji made this known during an interactive forum captioned “Understanding the Freedom of Information Act, Curbing the increasing wave of Rape/ Gender violence and Drug abuse” organized by the National Orientation Agency in the state.
Mr. Raji who expressed that the seminar will help the people imbibe the culture of living a drug-free life, in his address noted that the state has worrisome number of youths in its custody who are undergoing rehabilitation from misuse of drugs and consumption of banned substances at the moment.
The commander stressed the need for increased public enlightenment campaign to ensure that the youths know the dangers inherent in drug abuse and illicit trafficking.
The State Director National Orientation Agency Mr. Vitus Ekeocha, speaking at the interactive forum organised by the agency for stakeholders on Tuesday in Owerri, identified ignorance as a major challenge to the fight against rape, gender-based violence and drug abuse noting that Agency was poised to working closely with other stakeholders in ridding the society of these ugly trend.
According to him, information is critical in decision making while the quality of decisions people make depend on the quality and volume of information at their disposal.
“The FOI Act provides citizens, students, researchers and politicians easy access to information to conduct studies and understand how government processes policies, systems and the functions of public officers and office work.
“No doubt, the Act is a vital tool to ensure democracy and responsive governance in Nigeria,” he said.
Mr. Nazzy Njoku, Deputy Director, NOA in the state, in a paper on “Evaluating the Freedom of Information Act, 2011,” said the forum was to reinforce citizen’s confidence in openness in the governance process and its impact on national development.
The Commissioner for Information and Strategy in Imo state Mr. Declan Emelumba represented by a Director in the Ministry Mr. Kennedy Amanze stressed the need for transparency in government noting that citizens should at all times get acquainted with facts.
He said the people must be educated on the process of how, where and when to speak and obtain facts on issues of interest which was the cardinal objective of FOI Act.
To grace the occasion also was the National Council of Women Societies in the state, represented by Mrs. Chizoba Okafor, in her address she called for the speedy passage of the prohibition bill on Violence against persons to guarantee the rights of women. She noted that more than One hundred and forty cases of rape were reported in Imo state during the lock down occasioned by covid-19.
in curbing the wave of rape, domestic violence, drug abuse and misuse there should be a united push by all stakeholders for stiffer laws and penalties she said
She urged NOA, media institutions and non-governmental agencies to champion the awareness, information and enlightenment programmes against domestic violence as well as bring to the fore incidents of abuse.