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Delta Assembly passes FOI bill

The Delta House of Assembly on Thursday, passed the State Freedom of Information Bill.

The passage of the Bill followed the consideration of the report of the Joint House Committee on the Bill during the plenary in Asaba.

The Speaker of the House, Chief Sheriff Oborevwori said that having gone through the report of the committee, he directed the House to suspend its rules and pass the bill.

Consequently, the Majority Leader, Mr Tim Owhefere, moved a motion for the House to suspend orders 77, 78 and 79 and took the third reading to enable the House pass the bill.

The motion which was unanimously adopted by the Assembly when put to a voice vote by the speaker was seconded by Mr Samuel Mariere, representing Ughelli North I.

The speaker, who commended members for their support toward the passage of the bill, said the bill, if assented to by the governor, would enhance the principles of democracy.

He expressed the optimism that the signing the bill into law would also allow the people access to information.

The bill is for a law to make public records and information more freely available, provide for public access to public records and information.

It is also meant to protect public records and information to an extent consistent with the public interest and the protection of personal privacy.

The bill will also help to protect serving public officers from adverse consequences of disclosing certain kinds of official information without authorisation.

This will establish procedures for the achievement of that purpose and for related matters.

The House also received and adopted the report of the House Committee on Environment, Oil and Gas, on a Bill for a law to establish the Delta State Environment Management Agency.

The bill is to repeal the Delta State Environmental Protection Agency Law.

The adoption of the report followed the presentation of the report of the Chairman of the Committee, Mr Daniel Yingi.

Presenting the report, Yingi told the House that the bill was committed to the House Committee on Environment, Oil and Gas after the second reading on January 30.with the mandate to further scrutinise the bill.

He said the committee organised public hearing where stakeholders from the Ministry of Environment, representatives of the Ministry of Justice, and NGOs members of the academic community made useful contributions.

Yingi said the passage of the bill would help in ensuring environmental sustainable development and increase the revenue profile of the state.

Consequently, Majority Leader moved a motion for the House to receive and adopt the report.

The motion was unanimously adopted by the House when put to a voice vote by the speaker and seconded by the Deputy Majority Leader, Mr Oboro Preyor. (NAN)