The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) on Tuesday launched two fact-checking websites – Dubawa and Udeme.
The platforms are meant to provide accuracy and fact-check publicly available information in order to deepen the democratic space.
Yemi Kale, statistician-general Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), gave the keynote address at the occasion.
He advised Dubawa operators to be careful in handling information and data they receive.
Kale praised those behind the project for conceiving the idea, saying it would go a long way in helping the public.
Femi Falana, human rights lawyer, commended PTCIJ for taking into cognizance “those things that matter”.
Describing the launch of Dubawa and Udeme as a challenge to Nigerians, the lawyer suggested that it should help in monitoring budget implementation, even at the state and local government.
“For many years, the budget is just presented and at the end of the day we talk of 30%, 35% to 40% implementation at the federal level, at the state and local government level, there is no form of monitoring at all,” he said.
“Many of our legislators simply don’t know what the budget is all about and it behoves on media to help Nigeria get it right. I understand our country is said to be ‘poor’, I just did a letter to the EFCC where I did say that Nigeria can realize not less than $200 billion effortlessly from those who stole our oil particularly under the Jonathan administration.
“Between 2011 to 2014, 60.2 billion oil left the shores of Nigeria and it is estimated at about 12.2 billion dollars which is not accounted for.”
Shehu Sani, senator representing Kaduna central, spoke on “the place of constituency project in Nigeria’s infrastructural and democratic development”.
He described the launch of Udeme and Dubuwa as a new step in our fight for transparency and probity in our society.
“Constituency project has no place at all in any democratic or constitutional development, from my little experience at the national assembly it is going to be a herculean task for any NGO or group of NGOs to go through that very system and track the allocations, spending and project that were assigned to senators and members of house of reps,” he said.
“We must get to the point where we expect nothing from our representative at the National Assembly other than for them to perform oversight functions, raise motions and make bills.
“The idea of allocating money for constituency project is one issue that consistently and continuously distracts the activities of the members of the national assembly.”