The International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, in collaboration with the Public and Private Development Centre, PPDC, is embarking on a project to build the capacity of Nigerian journalists to scrutinise budgetary and procurement issues, in order to create more transparency and accountability in the public sector.
The project is made possible by a three-year grant from the Macarthur Foundation aimed at promoting accountability and transparency and helping in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The Director of the ICIR, Dayo Aiyetan, in a statement said the primary objective of the project is to help equip journalists in Nigeria with modern knowledge of investigative journalism as well as help cash strapped newsrooms to undertake critical watchdog reporting that can make government accountable to the people.
He said that the project’s focus on budgetary, procurement and contracting processes is informed by the reality that “most of the looting of government kitty is done during contracting and procurement processes.”
“Today’s investigative journalism is driven by technology and not sweat or legwork. We want to equip journalists with knowledge and skills that would enable them properly scrutinise and report activities of government, particularly the contracting processes through which money meant for development is stolen.”
The project is divided into two phases, and would involve providing training for up to 30 (15 Abuja based and 15 from other parts of the country) Nigerian journalists over a three-year period.
The workshops to be held in Abuja would build participants’ skills in investigative journalism, data journalism and infographics, procurement law, tracking and monitoring, among others.
Participating journalists will also undergo an internship with the PPDC, during which they will earn practical skills in tracking, monitoring and analysing contracts and procurement processes.
The project will also provide funds for the journalists to work with the ICIR and appointed mentors to undertake investigative reporting projects on critical sectors of the economy, with particular focus on procurement and contracting processes.
The first phase of the project scheduled to commence in April, is open to practicing journalists in print, electronic and new/digital media who are based in Abuja.
Freelance reporters who are interested in investigative journalism can also partake in the project as long as they have a guarantee of getting their reports published in a news outlet
Editors of newspapers would also be asked to nominate candidates for the project but nominees have to go through a screening process to qualify.
Interested journalists are asked to visit www.icirnigeria.org to apply.
Nominations for the training will be accepted until February 28.