By John Oba
The National Examinations Council (NECO) has been dragged into the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) Freedom of Information’s (FOI) Hall of Shame for failing to implement the FOI Act and to fulfill its obligations under the Law over the last six years.
MRA’s Programme Manager in Charge of Digital Rights, Ms Eseohe Ojo, said in a statement that MRA’s assessment of the poor level of implementation of the FOI Act by NECO is consistent with the findings of the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) in its 2017 ranking of 166 public institutions released on September 28, 2017
She further explained that the ranking is based on an assessment of the levels of public access to procurement related records and information, such as information on procurement plans, procurement processes and capital expenditure.
Ms Ojo also pointed out that as a result of the failure of NECO to submit its annual implementation report over the last six years, the vital statistical information which the reports are supposed to provide to members of the public, the Attorney-General of the Federation and the relevant committees of the National Assembly are lost.
“As NECO strives to become a major player within the global assessment industry whose examinations are trusted worldwide, it must simultaneously work hard to enhance its credibility and reputation as an organization that plays by the rules, that obeys applicable laws, that is responsible, transparent and accountable.
“It must be seen to be above board as anything less tarnishes its reputation and puts its integrity into question.”
Besides, Ms Ojo argued, “As a body that collects fees and monies from Nigerian students and other nationals taking its examinations or using its services, it should fully disclose information about its incomes and expenditure, which it can easily accomplish if it complies with its proactive disclosure obligations under Section 2 of the FOI Act.”