Home Anti Corruption CHRICED Trains Stakeholders on Budget Transparency, Tracking Constituency Projects in Kano

CHRICED Trains Stakeholders on Budget Transparency, Tracking Constituency Projects in Kano

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 Grace Egila

The Resource Centre for Human Rights and Civic Education (CHRICED) has trained no fewer than 30 journalists, and civil society advocates on transparency in the budgeting and execution of constituency projects in Kano State.

The training tagged “Fostering Transparency and Accountability in Constituency project Service Delivery in Kano State,” was held, Monday, at the Aminu Kano Centre for Democratic Studies, Mambayya House, Gwanmaja.

The initiative is a three year project supported by MacAthur Foundation.

Some of the objectives of the training include to strengthen local accountability voices to reduce corruption in the delivery of constituency projects.

To equip stakeholders with the skills and knowledge essential for effective participation in open governance processes, specifically in the identification and mapping of constituency offices and tracking of the constituency projects.

And, to enable anti-corruption actions by amplifying investigative reports on corruption focusing on service delivery, and providing the opportunity for trained community journalists and bloggers to cascade investigative reports to their local context.

In his opening remarks, CHRICED Executive Director, DR. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said: “The training is important because it will help reduce corruption through community agencies in the delivery of critical social services, especially constituency projects.

“To achieve this goal, Journalists must at all times assist the public to hold legislators accountable in terms of constituency projects.”

He advised journalists to carve a particular niche for themselves to become experts in areas that will benefit society.

Also speaking, the Senior Programs Officer, Omoniyi Adewoye gave an overview of the project, “Community-Driven Anti-Corruption initiatives in Kano State.”

A cross section of participants at the event

In delivering his presentation on best practices in amplifying community voices in constituency project delivery, he disclosed that CHRICED has tracked constituency projects in over 30 local governments in areas of the state.

Adewoye also revealed that constantly, money is been allocated to particular projects year-in-year-out; hence the need for both civil society organizations and the media to collaborate to foster transparency and accountability in the implementation of constituency projects in rural communities.

“Media practitioners should be open to partnership with CSOs and people in local communities for the betterment of the state,” he added.

The Senior Programs Officer highlighted key issues in citizen-led accountability practices which include; the attitudes and capacities of state actors, that is, the willingness and ability of politicians and civil society to disclose information, engage with citizens, and account for their decision and actions.

The attitudes and capacities of citizens and CSOs, that is, the willingness and ability of citizens and civil society actors to organize, mobilize and generate and analyze relevant information, interact and negotiate with state actors.

He said the freedom of information Act 2011, provides for public access to public records and information to be more freely available and the Fiscal Responsibility Act 2007 provides for prudent management of the Nation’s resources, ensuring accountability and transparency in fiscal operations in Nigeria.

Adewoye, therefore, appeals to both federal and state levels to make information readily available and accessible for voice actors in the state.

The Media Consultant, Barr. Nuhu Musa in his presentation titled ‘leveraging convergence in media ecosystem for constituency project reporting’ noted that due to a lack of a clear-cut legal framework for the operation of constituency projects in Nigeria, it is shrouded in bureaucratic secrecy.  

He revealed that presently, at the national or state levels of government, only Lagos State has a law that spells out the framework for this kind of project – The Lagos State constituency project Development law 1999.

Barr. Musa stated that, if this law is made available at both the national and state levels, the issue of secrecy surrounding accountability and transparency will be over in the country.

Earlier, a resource person from the Mass Communication Department, BUK, Hajiya Hadiza Jummai Ibrahim who presented a paper on ‘fact-checking in an age of fake news, misinformation and disinformation, said it is necessary for journalists to develop an interest in fact-checking as well as develop the skill to be able to differentiate between misinformation and information when reporting critical issues.

Hajiya Jummai said Journalists must verify information and claims made by individuals, government officials, bodies, and organizations; this will enable them to build and uphold trust by members of the public.

“Fake news, misinformation, and disinformation are harmful to society, hence the need to verify the information.

“When fact-checking, especially about constituency projects, ask the right questions and get data from verified sources, she averred.

Some participants at the event expressed displeasure at how the constituency projects are being appropriated for and executed in the state. They, however, promised to promote public interest through reportage.

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