Watch Dogs Trained On Accountability Journalism In West Africa 

In Breaking News, Civic Space

By Sylvia Akpan

“The Press, radio, television, and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people.”

The above is the legal backing of section 22 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended), charging the media to hold public office holders to account.

In line with the backing, the UDEME Social Accountability Fellowship selected and trained 21 young and enthusiastic journalists.

Organized by the Center for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), the journalists are selected from two West African countries of Nigeria and Ghana for the maiden fellowship program.

In a two-day virtual training, fellows were armed with the basic strategy, tools, and platforms to carry out their watchdog role.

During the training, the UDEME Project Manager – Ijeoma Okereke-Adagba; Tobi Oluwatola, and the Deputy Director for the accountability program, Mboho Eno, said the 2024 accountability fellowship is geared toward building the capacity of journalists in Nigeria and Ghana to identify red flags in budget line, items and unique patterns in contract awards that violate local procurement laws.

The training focused on investigative reporting, data for accountability reporting, budget formulation and process, and the role of journalists in the Nigeria Agenda 2050, and had facilitators and journalists across Nigeria who provided detailed discussion on the respective topics.

Mr. Akintola Babatunde, Director of Programs facilitated Data for Social Accountability.

He said data influences storytelling; highlighting four cardinal points which include Data research (sourcing and analysis), strategic online engagement, what the data says, and data visualization.

Dapo Olorunyomi, the Chief Executive Officer of CJID and Publisher, Premium Times, tutored on ‘Furthering Accountability Journalism In ECOWAS Region’.

Other facilitators are Bisi Abidoye, an Assistant Managing Editor at PREMIUM TIMES; Dubawa’s Editor, Kemi Busari, and others.

In her parting shots, the Program Manager for the UDEME-CJID project, Ijeoma Okereke congratulated fellows on their selection for the 2024 UDEME Accountability Fellowship and for successfully taking part in the 2-day training and information session. Adding that story grants will be made available on a rolling basis within the fellowship period and charged journalists to be serious with their works.

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