Abuja - The Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, on Tuesday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, said that access to information and data is the right of citizens and not a privilege.
He said this at a forum organised by the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency on the side line of the on going 3rd International Conference on Financing for Development.
The theme is the Role of Data Standards and International Initiatives in Mobilizing and Monitoring Financing for Development Commitments, a news release issued by Mr Laolu Akande, his spokesman, said.
According to Osinbajo, any institutional effort to deprive citizens of this right will constitute a serious impediment to good governance and development.
The vice president observed that with the right political will, governments could ensure that citizens' right of access to data and information was upheld with appropriate sanction applied when denied.
Osinbajo gave introductory remarks alongside the former Prime Minister of New Zealand, and current UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark.
Also read: Buhari, Osinbajo take 50 pct salary cut
Other panelists, including ministers from Belgium and Bangladesh, spoke at the forum to appraise the importance of openness of information in the mobilisation of resources for development.
The VP noted that such a culture of openness was a prerequisite for the achievement of transparency and accountability in governance.
He informed stakeholders of efforts by the Government of Nigeria to foster the culture of open data through mechanisms such as the National Extractive Industries and Transparency Initiative (NEITI) and the Freedom of Information Act.
He noted that both had contributed greatly to promoting openness and accountability thereby removing secrecy from vital sectors of the nation's economy particularly in the petroleum sector of the oil and gas industry.
The VP lauded the achievements recorded so far in that direction, observing that the progress underscored citizenship participation in governance.
Osinbano, however, added that the current regime of access to information needed to be expanded while issues such as quality of information and data available should be addressed.
Commending the Openness Initiative, Osinbajo opined that with the entrenchment of the open data and information flow, the goal of sustainable development could be easily achieved.
He pledged the commitment of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration towards promoting the culture which could go a long way in fostering the much desired objectives of good governance and development.