Promoting Good Governance.

ICIR trains journalists on investigating budget, procurement processses

THE International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) has organised a three-day investigative journalism training for journalists in Nigeria on how to monitor budgetary and procurement processes for possible investigative stories.

Held at the AES Luxury Apartments, Abuja, the MacArthur Foundation-sponsored training commenced on Wednesday and came to an end on Friday.

The participants from various media organisations were educated on open contracting, how to use the Freedom of Information Act, fact-checking investigative reports, data sourcing and visualisation, among other subjects.

Among the facilitators for the workshop were: Dayo Aiyetan, Executive Director of ICIR; Musikilu Mojeed, Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times; Nkem Ilo, CEO of  the Public and Private Development Centre; Stanley Achonu, Civil Society Adviser at the Open Government Partnership; and Yetunde Mosunmola of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC).

According to Rosemary Otohwo-Olufemi, Senior Programme Officer at the ICIR, the objective of the training was to curb corruption by building the capacity of journalists from various parts of Nigeria to investigate and scrutinise procurement processes in the country.

“It is common knowledge that most corrupt practices in government today can be traced to the budgeting and procurement processes in Nigeria,” she said.

“Agents and agencies must be held accountable when loopholes are found in their activities. Journalists on the other hand must understand the laws and acts that guide procurement processes in order to do critical reporting and expose corrupt practices, and that is why this training is key.”

Participants at a brainstorming session on procurement investigative case studies

“The training is quite insightful,” said Oladeinde Olawoyin, a journalist with Premium Times. “The facilitators did treat the critical concerns surrounding procurement investigations with dexterity. Kudos to the ICIR  for providing journalists with this great opportunity.”

Taiwo Adebulu, who works for TheCable, described the workshop as eye-opening and said it equipped him with sufficient knowledge to investigate procurement processes “in order to hold institutions accountable”.

Anthony Akaeze, a senior journalist with Tell Magazine, also told the ICIR the training was insightful and of great value to him.

“Every ambitious journalist would be glad to be part of it,” he said.

Following the training, the ICIR has said, participants will be sent to intern at the Public and Private Development Centre after which their investigations will be sponsored and generally supported by the organisation.

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