UDEME, the social accountability and transparency project of Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism, has concluded a five-day virtual training exercise for student journalists in Nigeria.
The students, who are referred to as Udeme Monitors (U-Monitors), will be deployed across the country to track, monitor and ascertain the conditions of government-owned projects in the states.
The training held between Monday and Friday last week under topics such as Social Accountability, Budgetary Processes, Accountability Journalism, Investigative Reporting, Understanding BPP Processes, Journalistic Writing, Impact Tracking, Freedom of Information (FOI) among others had 26 university students in attendance.
The project officer, Ijeoma Okereke, said the training is very important, not just for the organisation, but also for the U-Monitors who are pursuing different degree courses in different universities.
“We deemed it necessary to train them on issues relating to procurement/contracting processes in Nigeria vis-a-vis budgetary allocations to certain projects across the 36 states because they are the next generation who will bring about the social change we so desire,”. Ms Okereke said
“It would interest you that these young folks volunteered to become agents of change in their respective communities and this is quite commendable. It is our hope that they put into practice everything they have learnt these few days and contribute to the growth of democracy and accountability in Nigeria,” she concluded.
The participants applauded the exercise and spoke of their experience in it.
“It was an amazing training and I am glad that I took part”, Amah Hannah, a student at the University of Uyo, said.
Another participant from the Federal University Oye Ekiti, Iretomiwa Dele-Yusuff, said, “the focus on accountability journalism shed more light on formerly vague issues. Although the task ahead is daunting, I am ready to give it my best.”
Asuquo Cletus, a student of Cross River University of Technology, said most of the lessons they received from the training were not taught in school classrooms.