The Progressive Impact Organization for Community Development, (PRIMORG) is billed to take part in a one-day intensive data journalism training for journalists across print and broadcast media on investigation of COVID-19 spending by government agencies.

The training which holds Tuesday, June 16, 2020, is intended to train investigative journalists on how to use data being published on Social Accountability platforms for their investigations and data-driven reporting of financial activities including COVID-19 donations and spending by the Nigerian government.

PRIMORG which is a non-governmental, non-profit civil society organization, established with the mission to promote good governance, accountability and transparency, however, qualified to participate due to its track record in living up to its core mandate.

According to the organisers of the workshop, Dataphyte Nigeria and the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), the resolve to train journalists became necessary as 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.

It will also be recalled that the Federal government hitherto 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.

According to the organisers, part of the effort of the two organisations 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.

Other media partners to attend the training include; Business Day, Daily Trust, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Order Paper, Premium Times, TheCable, Tribune, and Signature TV.

“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,” Dataphyte and PPDC noted.

They also said that 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 procurement’s done by the various governments across the country.

Interacting with the Executive Director of PRIMORG, Mr Okhiria Agbonsuremi, he commended the organisers of the workshop for the initiative, hence assured of his organisation’s participation.

“The training is well conceived and good one for the nation, especially at a time citizens are increasingly demanding transparency, accountability and probity from government officials,” Agbonsuremi said.

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