OrderPaperToday – A consortium of media and civil society organizations led by Dataphyte Nigeria and the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) will hold a one-day intensive training for journalists on the use of data to investigate COVID-19 donations.

The collaborating media organizations on the initiative include OrderPaper Nigeria, Business Day, Daily Trust, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Premium Times, TheCable, Tribune, Primorg, and Signature TV on investigative journalism.

The training will take place on the 16th of June, according to the CEO of Dataphyte, Joshua Olufemi in a press statement.

He said the training will empower journalists on using “social accountability platforms for their investigations and data-driven reporting of financial activities including COVID-19 donations and spending by the Nigerian government.

“Nigerian government at both federal and state levels have committed funds and other resources in response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Nigeria. Also, the corporate sector and individuals across the country made donations to support government interventions.

“The Federal government disclosed over 5 billion Naira has been earmarked for the palliatives and purchase of medical and other equipment needed to combat the pandemic. Also, the SGF disclosed as of April that over 300 million has been donated by Nigerians. However, civil society organisations and citizens have continued to raise concerns about the disbursements of palliatives as well as the management of the COVID19 funds.

“Part of the effort is to combine budget and public contracting data with the enormous data published on Budeshi, NOCOPO, and the Open Treasury platforms to help journalists investigate and report possible misappropriation and corruption in the management of public funds as well as COVID-19 intervention funds in the country.

“It became imperative to organize this workshop as preliminary findings have already shown disturbing items in government spendings and a collective effort of journalists will be expedient to highlight this public contracting anomaly.

“After the training, the Journalists would use data on these portals to embark on monitoring and carrying out investigations to ascertain the implementation status of these projects and particular attention would be paid to COVID-19 procurements done by the various governments across the country.”

Ms Ifeoma Onyebuchi, program director at PPDC said the partnership provides an opportunity for collaboration towards supporting ongoing efforts by the government and other stakeholders in strengthening accountability mechanisms and transparency in the use and management of public resources.

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