Tajudeen Suleiman, Director of Projects at the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), says corruption thrives in public institutions across the three tiers of government because “many journalists are not literate about budgets and procurement processes”.
“Many journalists are not literate enough about budget and procurement, so they cannot ask relevant questions and hold government accountable,” Suleiman said on Tuesday at the opening of a three-day capacity training for the Nigerian Media themed ‘Open Contract Reporting (OCR)’, organized by ICIR and supported by the MacArthur Foundation.
He explained that journalists have the responsibility of holding government accountable and responsible on behalf of the people.
“As journalists, your role is to hold government accountable and responsible on behalf of the people,” he said.
“But how can you do that when you don’t know anything about the budget and the procurement process? How can you challenge them on their failed promises to the people without knowing the budget?
“It is very important you have to know what the budget of your country is, your state and local government.”
Speaking on the objectives of the training, which is a follow-up to the one held in 2017, Suleiman said it was organized to enable journalists understand how to interrogate the national, state and local government budgets.
“We must be able to question all the official figures that government is spinning out. This is why we have brought journalists together with the support of MacArthur Foundation for Nigerian journalists to be able to follow the money.
We have brought experts in Investigative Journalism and Procurement process to share their experiences and perspective with you,” he said
A total of 15 journalists drawn from print, electronic and online media are attending the training.