The National Business and Technical Examinations Board (NABTEB}, has affirmed its readiness to partner with the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) to ensure that the examinations body fulfils its constitutional mandate fully, uncompromisingly, and faithfully.
The chairman of the newly inaugurated Governing Board of NABTEB, Leonard Shilgba, gave the assurance on Wednesday while reacting to a press statement titled “MRA Confers NABTEB with FOI ‘Hall of Shame’ Award for Violating Its Obligations under FOI Act.”
Mr Shilgba, a professor, disclosed that the governing board had already directed the Registrar/Chief Executive of NABTEB to promptly make available the requested information, and report back to the chairman.
The MRA had in the statement issued in Lagos by its Legal Officer, Morisola Alaba, on Monday, named NABTEB as this week’s recipient of the “Freedom of Information (FOI) Hall of Shame” award, accusing the examinations body of consistently violating its obligations under the FOI Act while also denying citizens the right to obtain information from it.
According to Ms Alaba, information published by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), an Abuja-based non-governmental organisation, indicates that NABTEB has not been responsive to requests for information.
In his swift reaction, Mr Shilgba noted that even before the MRA press release, he had, hours after the inauguration of the governing board on March 22, demanded for many and more of the pieces of information requested by MRA.
“In the new spirit of transparency and accountability, which the Buhari Government embraces, the new (9th) Governing Board of NABTEB has instituted a Whistle-blower policy, which was announced by the Chairman on Thursday, April 26, 2018, during the maiden working visit by the Governing Board at National Headquarters of NABTEB at Benin City,” he added.
Mr Shilgba also called on MRA to partner with NABTEB to enforce its broad mandate, which, according to him, was unfortunately being encroached upon by certain agencies and organisations.
“This is very important, even as MRA itself acknowledges the significant role NABTEB should play in national development. This role will be felt by all Nigerians very soon, with the unyielding support by organisations and bodies such as MRA,” Mr Shilgba assured.
While apologising for its failings of the past, the NABTEB chairman however expressed the hope that with the steps being taken to open up the examinations body to the public and fulfil its broad mandate, “NABTEB’s award by MRA by 2019 would be one we shall be proud of, and not ashamed of.”
To demonstrate the seriousness the governing board attaches to its whistle-blower policy, Mr Shilgba said contact emails – firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com – and phone number: 08097061460 have been provided to receive complaints.