Nigeria Social Media: A Means to Tracking corruption

Culled from DW

I read about the activities of "Follow the money" I was very impressed at their milestone achievements via social media especially twitter, so I thought I share their latest post with you.

More than 10,000 people on Twitter are following the Nigerian initiative, Follow the Money. It tracks how funds allocated to aid and development projects are actually being spent. Pressure on the government is mounting.

Nigeria as well as South Africa have the largest national economies in Africa. But given widespread corruption in Nigeria, most of the wealth there bypasses the general public. A major hindrance is the government's lack of transparency. Although the national government has made a commitment to join the Open Government Partnership lower levels of government have no plans to provide open data on their budgets and spending.

Follow the Money, however, is a project that's striking back. Using a combination of grassroots and online activities, it tracks whether government funds officially allocated to health, education and development projects do in fact reach their targets. If they do not, Follow the Money launches campaigns and demands government accountability. 

"We focus on extensive social media activities and also bring in traditional media and hold local hearings," explains Oludotun Babayemi, co-founder of the project. This way, he says, Follow the Money can exchange information with citizens across the country and learn about shortcomings.

When a major flood in 2012 destroyed the Gutsura community in Nigeria's northwestern state of Zamfara, the government announced it would provide emergency relief, allocate funds and relocate the 3,000 residents. "But one year later, not even a cent had arrived," recounts Babayemi. "A citizen reporter of ours in the area told us what was happening and we started informing people via Twitter, Facebook and the radio," Babayemi says. "We told the stories about the people there and demanded that the government act." A few months later the residents were relocated to another community and were given new housing.