Category: CODE in the News

Engaging Communities to Advocate for Improved Services

Communications March 22, 2021 144

Connected Development’s (CODE) Follow the Money initiative, with the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, helped improve the delivery of $1.5 million of education funds in Kaduna state in Nigeria, under the universal basic education spend. The project engaged communities and kept them informed on government projects and resources, and it helped them advocate for accountability with contractors and officials. According to a case study and documentary video on the initiative, Follow the Money improved access to education, strengthened accountability, and resulted in delivery of public goods across sectors to neglected communities. A comic strip that pairs with the study tells the story of a family, local media advocacy, and community meetings ultimately achieving better conditions at their school.

While communities are entitled to many services, often the delivery can be hampered by corruption. MacArthur grantee CODE helps give communities the tools to advocate for their priorities and find achievable targets for change. The case study shares take-aways for similar contexts, including supporting local leaders, focusing on near-term successes before long-term change, using holistic monitoring to see multiple measures of success.

Via MacArthur Foundation

The Federal Republic of Malabu

Communications May 24, 2020 0

The Federal Republic of Malabu

Charles E. Uche

Once Upon a Time… 

The scandal that surrounded the award of the OPL 245 to Malabu Oil & Gas Limited continues to have a negative impact on Nigeria 22 years after its occurrence. This outrageous breach of law and fiduciary duty has been brought to international limelight – before the comity of nations – where it has further marred Nigeria’s reputation as a nation where corruption is championed from the highest political offices. This has led to a financial downfall and a near unsalvable reputational disaster which affects Nigeria’s GDP and its ability to attract foreign direct/portfolio investment. The impact doesn’t just end there and like any other corrupt practice, it has a significant effect on the standard of living and welfare of the masses. Below is an abridged timeline of “events”:

1998: On April 24, 1998, an oil company by the name Malabu Oil and Gas Limited was incorporated. This company had no legitimate place of business; no employee nor asset.

Just 5 days later, on April 29th, this company was awarded a lucrative Oil Prospecting License ‘OPL 245’ – to one of the most lucrative oil fields in Niger Delta, estimated to have about nine billion barrels of crude oil, and worth about half a trillion dollars.

This grant of license was made without a bidding process; without a formal application process “stating willingness to comply with provisions and conditions that will be imposed, and giving information about the proposed methods of developing the block” pursuant to the Petroleum Act of 1969; and without the full payment of a signature bonus fee of $20 million to be made within 30 days of the grant.

How much was actually paid by Malabu?

$2 million (out of the required $20 million).

What is a Signature Bonus?

A signature bonus is a one-time fee for the assignment and securing of a license, paid irrespective of economic success for the contractor or licensee.

How was this Possible and who were the True/Beneficial Owners of this Faux Company?

Malabu Oil and Gas Limited was (caused to be) incorporated by Chief Dauzia ‘Dan’ Loya Etete “Dan Etete“, the then Minister of Petroleum Resources under the then Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha, using a false identity so as to award himself (since he has the power to award licenses) and his cronies.

Etete’s Cronies: the owners of this faux company included; Mohammed Sani (alias for Mohammed Abacha, son of the then Head of State, General Sani Abacha); Kweku Amafegha (a fictional character created by Dan Etete, the then Minister of Petroleum Resources, responsible for the award of the license; and Wabi Hassan (wife of Hassan Adamu, a close friend of General Sani Abacha and one time Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States of America). Etete himself was neither listed as a director nor shareholder of the company. He, however, used nominees and had beneficial and ultimate ownership and control of the company.

Who is a Beneficial Owner?

  • A person who holds, directly or indirectly, more than 25% of the shares or voting rights in the company; or has the right to appoint or remove a majority of the company’s board of directors.
  • A person who takes all or most of the returns of a property’s equity or monetary gains.

2001: In 2001, Malabu conceded 40% participation interest to Shell on the agreement that Shell would pay the Federal Government the outstanding $18 million. That same year, Malabu’s license was revoked and was awarded to Shell after a bidding process.

2002: Subsequently, in 2002, Malabu petitioned the house of representatives which then conducted a public hearing into the transaction and concluded that the revocation of the block from Malabu and reallocation to Shell was done mala fide (in bad faith) and declared it null and void.

2003: The House of Representatives, therefore, passed a resolution in 2003 that the block should be returned to Malabu. The Federal Government did not comply with the resolution of the green chamber.

2006: Malabu went to court and there was a series of litigation between Malabu and the government until sometime in 2006 when they entered into an out-of-court settlement which was subsequently reduced to a consent judgment of the federal high court, Abuja. As a result of the agreement and all the conditions set out to be met by all parties, Edmund Daukoru, who was then the minister of state for petroleum resources, wrote on behalf of the federal government, and on behalf of Obasanjo to convey the decision to return the block 100% to Malabu in accordance with the terms of settlement.

It was part of the terms of settlement that Malabu would pay to the Federal Government within 12 months $210 million less the $2.04 million already paid. This was not done. Furthermore, the then Attorney General of the Federation, Bayo Ojo, was actively involved in the negotiations and settlement. It is alleged that the terms of settlement were reached by corrupt means.

2011: After series of negotiations between Shell/Eni and Etete through Emeka Obi, an investment  banker, the federal government revoked OPL 245 from Malabu, whose beneficial owner was Etete and Abacha and awarded it to Shell and Eni (Agip) consortium after a payment. Both companies purchased the rights to the OPL 245 for about $1.1 billion and the transfer was made “through” the Nigerian government to accounts controlled by a former Nigerian petroleum minister, Dan Etete. From accounts controlled by Mr Etete, about half the money ($520 million) went to accounts of companies controlled by Mr Aliyu Abubakar “AA Oil”.

Senior officers of both Shell and Eni were closely involved in these series of corrupt negotiations and sanctioned the acquisition of OPL 245 and the companies are indicted through the principle of vicarious liability as the senior officers were agents of their respective companies. Both companies also knew or ought to have known the fraudulent and corrupt nature and history of the grant of OPL 245.

Abubakar Aliyu and Emeka Obi, amongst others, are alleged to have acted as “middlemen” for top officials of former President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration and Etete in the scandal. Also, it appeared that the Federal Government of Nigeria, through the then Attorney General, Adoke, and Minister of Petroleum Resources, Deziani, facilitated the papers for the agreement and transfer of the said sum from the Shell/Eni to a Federation Account and finally to accounts controlled by Etete. 

2017: In March 2017, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, filed fresh charges against Aliyu Abubakar, along with Mohammed Adoke, a former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, and Dan Etete, a former Minister of Petroleum, for involvement in the $1.1 billion Malabu oil scandal. They are being prosecuted alongside two international oil giants – Shell Nigeria Exploration Production Company, and ENI, as well as Malabu Oil & Gas Ltd, Rocky Top Resource Ltd, Imperial Union Ltd, Novel Properties & Dev. Co. Ltd, Group Construction Ltd, and Megatech Engineering Ltd.

2020: As of March, 2020, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission [EFCC] were prosecuting 8 defendants in the Malabu case on 47 count charges bordering on fraud, bribery, abuse of office, money laundering, unlawful obtainment, and so forth. As of the last court hearing “arraignment” on March 4th, two of the defendants denied ownership of some companies also being prosecuted in the charge sheet. The matter was adjourned to March 17th and 18th pending confirmations from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) before prosecution can begin their duties in earnest. This is 22 YEARS LATER!

The Malabu Scandal, alleged to be Africa’s most controversial and corrupt oil deals has indicted top Nigerian ex-officials such as; Former Attorney General of the Federation, Mohammed Adoke; Former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Alison Deziani, Dan Etete, and so forth, and has set off a series of multifaceted litigations and criminal prosecutions against the litany of local and foreign actors in several jurisdictions including Italy, France, Netherland, Switzerland, United States and Britain. Some of these foreign courts have also indicted Shell, Eni and convicted few Nigerian actors including Emeka Obi in Italy.

It is noteworthy that the entire transactions “Malabu deal(s)” emanating from the grant of OPL 245 was built on a shaky, fraudulent and illegal foundation and thus, neither Etete nor Malabu acquired legitimate rights to OPL 245, as it is a common legal principle that one cannot benefit from his own wrongdoing “Ex turpi causa non oritur actio“. 

In conclusion, the Malabu Scandal isn’t a Scandal. “Scandal” does not do justice to what transpired over 13 years, and managed to be lingering 22 years later without a single conviction of the perpetrators in Nigeria. What happened was a national sellout. Akin to how the Royal Niger Company sold the territories now Nigeria to Britain for £865,000. This time, it’s not the white man; it’s our leaders who hold their offices and manage our resources in trust for the Nigerian people.

Furthermore, it is my firm belief that the outrageous wrongdoings in the Malabu case are of a magnitude such that should stimulate the national consciousness and outcry of the Nigerian people, and actively mobilise them against corruption of any scale and kind. In addition, it is my firm belief that this consciousness and mobilisation, alongside the instrumental provisions of the Federal Audit Service Commission Bill and the Petroleum Industry Bill would strengthen the regulatory frameworks and institutions against corruption, bring Nigeria in tandem with global anti-corruption and extractive best practices, thereby deterring similar future occurrence. 

Other Salient Issues Connected to Malabu:

  • A President’s alleged ignorance of the overt acts of Senior Cabinet Officials of his administration – who represented the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the “Scandal”.
  • Lack of Public Beneficial Ownership Data/Register, especially with regards to Private ‘LTD’ Companies, as the provisions are directed to Public “PLC” Companies. Private Companies are not bound by Beneficial Ownership obligations of Sections 94-98 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). Guess what? Virtually all companies in the extractive sector today are Private LTD Companies. The NEITI Beneficial Ownership Register recently launched still has a long way to go to address this.
  • Excessive Powers of the Minister for Petroleum Resources. The current Petroleum Industry Bill that was refused assent by the President still gave enormous, discretionary powers to the Minister of Petroleum Resources. 
  • Arbitrary and Discretionary Grant of Licenses by the Minister of Petroleum Resources.
  • Weak Petroleum Regulatory Frameworks. Many of the laws around the Extractive Industry are very outdated. The Petroleum Act; NNPC Act, including the CAMA, to mention but a few, are antiquated; providing fines such as 25 to 2000 Naira.
  • Weak/Limited Audit Capabilities of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation. The Auditor General of the Federation has no special, comprehensive statutory, enabling enactment (besides Section 85 of the Constitution) that empowers him to audit statutory agencies, corporations, commissions and bodies. He also has no power to sanction MDAs who default in submitting their annual audit reports. However, while the current Federal Audit Service Commission Bill (which was also refused presidential assent) gives the office much of these audit powers, Section 85(3) of the constitution, including specific clauses of the Bill prohibits the office from conducting audit on statutory corporations, agencies, commissions and bodies. Perhaps, if the office had the required audit powers, the Malabu Scandal would have been detected a longer time ago.

Ultimately, Malabu Scandal is possibly one case out of a number; and if all the aforementioned issues are not adequately addressed, there might just yet be another massive, perhaps, worse Malabu in the Federal Republic of Malabu.

Charles E. Uche ESQ. is a Staff Attorney at Connected Development [CODE]. He holds a degree in Public and Private Law from Afe Babalola University, and the Nigerian Law School, Abuja. 

Follow The Money Wins Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award!

Communications November 13, 2019 0

The Secretary General, Council of Europe,
Marija Pejčinović Burić, and CODE’s Communications Lead, Kevwe Oghide at the Council’s Hemicycle

Africa’s leading anti-corruption and social accountability initiative, Follow The Money, has emerged winner of the 2019 Council of Europe’s Democracy Innovation Award.

The award which recognizes Follow The Money as one of the leading ground-breaking initiatives in the world, that are promoting democratic principles, was received by the Initiative’s Chief Communications Officer, Kevwe Oghide at the closing plenary of the Council of Europe’s World Forum for Democracy 2019, recently concluded in Strasbourg, France.

Expressing delight about the recognition, Founder of Follow The Money, Hamzat Lawal, says this award comes with the responsibility to intensify our commitment to promote transparency and accountability in governance and to amplify the voices of the marginalised as a way to accelerate social change.

Lawal who also doubles as the Chief Executive of Connected Development [CODE] stressed the need for more African countries to adopt Follow The Money as a tool to build stronger institutions. This would place African countries on the pathway to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and the Afrucan Union Agenda 2063. He thanked the donors- Luminate, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Open Society Initiative for West Africa, Oxfam and Actionaid- who have  supported the movement and helped us reach more grassroots communities.

The Democracy Innovation Award comes at a time when Follow The Money is celebrating 7 years of leading citizens campaigns at the grassroots and have successfully tracked over $10 million and directly impacted over 4 million lives with over 6,000 dedicated volunteers using technology tools to bring voices to the front burner. 

Ms Oghide, who presented the initiative alongside over 27 brilliant initiatives from across the world, stated that, “it is incredible that we won knowing that Nigeria is not even a member state of the Council of Europe. Nigeria, Poland and France emerged finalists, yet delegates at the Council’s Hemicycle voted for Follow The Money to win the Democratic Innovation award. This evidently shows democracy at work.”

The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, in her remark, noted that Follow The Money has shown exemplary leadership in advancing democratic governance. She added that the internet, social media and Artificial Intelligence have all democratized access to information and given millions of people their voice. The challenge is to ensure that information contributes to democracy, which Follow The Money is doing.

The World Forum for Democracy is a platform for dialogue and democratic participation which brings new ideas into the work of the Council of Europe and promotes its principles across the world. The forum is placed under the high patronage of Emmanuel MACRON, President of the French Republic and will hold between the 5th and 8th of November 2019.

CODE, FlexiSAF Foundation to Tackle Growing Number of Out of School Children in Nigeria

Communications March 21, 2019 1

Alarmed by the accelerating number of out-of-school children in Nigeria, two civil society organisations; Connected Development(CODE) and FlexiSAF Foundation have  come together to combine their resources in identifying out of school children and providing quality basic education. In direct accordance with the SDG 4 and SDG 17, Connected Development and FlexiSAF Foundation are on a mission to reach these targets ahead of 2030. 

Statistics show that there are about 13.2 million Nigerian children currently not in school and this figure is increasing by the day, particularly in the Northern part of Nigeria. Issues of insurgency, conflicts and unrest militating the North-East combined with deep-rooted poverty, and certain cultural factors especially in the North have pushed the rate of out-of-school children high. Even the few educational facilities in these rural settings are in deplorable conditions—dilapidated structures, no libraries, congested classrooms with poor ventilation, damaged or no furniture, causing pupils to sit on classroom floors—further discouraging children from attending school.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) records that Girls account for 60 per cent of the out-of-school population. For every 100 boys of primary age out of school, 121 girls are denied the right to education, worsening gender-based discrimination and putting girls at a disadvantage. Displacement and child marriage also significantly affect a girl’s chances of going to school. Issues of water, sanitation and hygiene, and in many cases, insecurity affecting the delivery of education in conflict affected areas, are contributing factors driving children – particularly girls – away from the classroom.

Distressed by the growing number of out of school children in Nigeria, Connected Development and FlexiSAF Foundation are partnering to identify and verify the number of out of school children in selected states in Nigeria and increase citizen participation through awareness raising.

According to Ahmad Salihijo Ahmad, Chairman, FlexiSAF Foundation, the partnership comes at a time when sustainable measures must be put in place to strengthen the quality of education in the country and curtail the growing number of out of school children, which has grossly affected the Nation, particularly the Northern region. “It is indeed a remarkable feat to partner with Connected Development (CODE) in our mutual goal to reach out a helping hand to communities in need. We will be able to have access to more communities to provide quality basic education for all children,” he added.

CODE’s Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, stated that “the future of Nigeria is strongly determined by the quality of education of its children. How can we begin to talk about quality education when a large proportion of Nigeria’s young ones are out-of-school?” Lawal was worried that out-of-school children are constantly being exposed to danger of violence, assault, exploitation and anti-social recruitments such as terrorism, child-trafficking and kidnapping. He noted that addressing out of school children is a challenge that the Nigerian Government must tackle with a sense of urgency.

He also noted that the partnership will be a great leap in pursuing the cause of reducing the number of out-of-school children. CODE is committed to providing its resources in supporting the cause by collating the number of out of school children and providing support in areas of monitoring and evaluation (M&E)”. CODE and FlexiSAF Foundation partnership will bring about the reduction in percentage of out-of-school children and create a sustainable environment for children to study and explore their creativity.

Amina Abubakar, Coordinator FlexiSAF Education stated that there is a lot of work to be done in ensuring the Nigerian child goes to school. She called on the Federal and State Governments, Civil Societies, as well as stakeholders in the Education System, especially the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) to commit to securing the education of the Nigerian child.

“As countries strive to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG4) that addresses attaining universal primary and secondary education by 2030, this is a wake-up call for the Nigerian government to make educating the nation’s future leaders a priority. We should begin to think up sustainable initiatives to resolve the challenging factors facing out-of-school children,” Amina added.

She also mentioned that to reach the large number of out-of-school kids, we have a long way to go. The effort required is massive, not just for FlexiSAF Foundation and CODE, but for Nigeria as a whole and the world at large. “It’s not enough to just acknowledge the problem, but a swift and effective course of action 1must be embarked upon. That is what we have began, and we are committed to staying on this course for the long haul.”

FlexiSAF Managing Director, Faiz Bashir stated that change can begin at the grassroots whereby learning opportunities start with community-based education and organising classes in community buildings so children do not have to walk miles  and miles to go to school. This is especially critical for girls, as it reduces insecurity such as harassment and conflict related incidents, on the way to school. FlexiSAF Foundation has, in its effort to reach the SDG 4 target, adopted such flexible methods of teaching out-of-school kids. These include Safe Spaces within their communities, full scholarships to qualitative schools, one-on-one mentorship and counselling and so forth.

He added that the partnership between CODE and FlexiSAF Foundation aims to identify and target regions with disproportionately high rates of out of school children, including working with leaders and other groups to advocate for increased education, especially for girls. It will also ensure safe and conducive learning that meets basic security and health standards, including toilets and safe drinking water.

Detailed plans to implement this partnership will be developed by the two organizations in the coming months.

According to the United Nations, out-of-school children are children who are yet to be enrolled in any formal education excluding pre-primary education.

The Follow The Money Movement Is Now Live In East Africa!

Chambers Umezulike February 28, 2018 26

It’s been an interesting year already for the Follow The Money (FTM) Movement. In January, we officially launched in The New Gambia. In the following month, we were in Kenya to do the same. All with the goal of spreading the adaptation of the FTM model across the continent so that citizens can hold their governments to account and facilitate development in their communities.

After weeks of planning and strategizing, the team were in Nairobi, Kenya on 10 February 2018 for Follow The Money Kenya Workshop and Launch, through a partnership with the Slums Information Development and Resource Centres (SIDAREC) – a youth/children development project operating in the slums of Nairobi. SIDAREC playing a host to Follow The Money Kenya won the ONE Africa Award in 2008, for her rigorous development driven activities in Kenyan slums, just like we won the same award 8 years later.

The workshop which started by 11 am on the aforementioned date was attended by over 100 participants. In participation included the Chief Executive of Connected Development, Hamzat B Lawal; Executive Director of SIDAREC, Lucy Mukami; Member of Imara Daima County Assembly, Hon. Ken Obuya; and a cross section of other stakeholders in community development and open government work. It was held at SIDAREC office at Imara Daima and was geared toward building the capacity of the participants on the FTM processes, for domestication in Kenya. The sessions in the workshop ranged from taking them through Follow The Money workflow; data mining to activate campaigns; how to leverage on information sharing partnerships to access and amplify information; the procedure for organizing community outreach and town hall meetings; as well as a discussion on the political economy of open government in Kenya and operationalization of Article 35 (Access to Information provision in the Kenyan 2010 Constitution).

While making a presentation at the workshop

Other side attractions during our visit to Kenya included a community outreach to Mukuru kwa Njenga Slum and a radio programme on citizen engagement, active citizenry and social accountability on 99.9 Ghetto FM – a community mobilization signature of SIDAREC.

The most important aspect of the launch/workshop was that it was held in a community/slum away from being held in an extravagant hotel in Nairobi, a traditional fashion exhibited by some organizations, in a way to unintentionally mainstream the development buzz malcontents. Doing this in a community we believe will strengthen local ownership of the initiative. In addition, a Member of County Assembly was in participation committing to facilitating government spending data availability as concerns the Ward Development Fund, County Development Fund etc.

At the end of the workshop, Follow The Money Kenya was officially commissioned. Its hoped that all things being equal, the Kenya Chapter will leverage on several social accountability tools already existing in the country such as access to information provision in the constitution to hit the ground running, identifying potential funds intended for communities and deploying the FTM strategies to make sure open government and service delivery work in Kenyan communities.

Kenya’s multi-party democracy realization journey was a back-breaking one and it’s believed Follow The Money Kenya will ensure the achievement of democracy dividends; hold elected public officials to account; and be a tool for checks and balances, for effective democratic accountability in the East African country.


Chambers Umezulike is a Senior Programme Manager at Connected Development and a Development Governance Expert. He spends most of his time writing and choreographing researches on good and economic governance. He tweets via @Prof_Umezulike

Mainstreaming Social Accountability in the New Gambia

Chambers Umezulike January 31, 2018 4

Corruption is more predominant in Sub-Saharan Africa, mainly because, weak institutions cannot implement the required checks and balances required for effective democratic and accountable governance. Connected Development [CODE] through its initiative, Follow The Money (FTM), since 2012, has been at the frontline of initiatives that seek to address these aforementioned open government challenges in Nigeria through the civil society perspective of a grassroot movement. This, the organization is now extending to the New Gambia.

CODE Chief Executive, Hamzat Lawal, during an opening remarks at the NACEET

Follow The Money Gambia is a project under a Gambian non-profit, Gambia Participates, led by the young activist and youth leader Marr Nyang. The project aims to leverage on Gambia’s current political climate to entrench functioning democratic governance, effective public oversight, open government and improve the lives of communities in the country. Having mobilized young volunteers across the country, committed to following the money in their various communities, FTM Gambia flagged off the National Anti-Corruption, Citizen Education and Engagement Training (NACEET) Series 1.0. The training which took place on 17 January 2018, was to build the capacity of these volunteers on the FTM processes which they will step down in their communities, while they start running a campaign.

While facilitating a session in the training

As part of this, we were in the Gambia for a week, 16 – 20 January  2018, over a set of activities, all geared toward creating a favourable environment for citizenry driven accountability work and building the capacity of FTM Gambia. The team, which I was part of, facilitated sessions on the NACEET where participants were taken through the Follow The Money process.

The team with the Executive Director of National Youth Council, the Gambia

Furthermore, there was a press release about our visit, the NACEET and FTM Gambia operations. This was followed by radio and tv programme. Through these, we further sensitized the Gambian citizens on their rights, roles in the society and the essence of fulfilling their society-demanding responsibility of holding the government to account. Furthermore, these media activities were geared toward calling on the Gambian government to implement an FOI law in the country, so that citizens’ will have the right to request public financial information. Recognizing this to be an obstacle in the accountability work, fiscal transparency and the ambition of FTM Gambia, we paid a courtesy on the Lamin Darboe, Executive Director of the Gambia National Youth Council for a collaboration toward having such a law implemented. Such visit was also paid to the Director of International Republican Institute country office in the Gambia.

The team getting ferried across the Atlantic to access Touba Angellah Community

Obviously, we would not have gone to The Gambia without a visiting a rural community. As such, the team was at Touba Angellah in Nuimi, North Bank Region of the country, 45 kilometers away from Banjul. For a community engagement programme. The dilapidated health and educational facilities in the community were assessed for coherent advocacy for them to be fixed. This also afforded us the opportunity of conducting citizen education at the community with a focus on anti-corruption, budget tracking, active citizenry and social accountability.

The trip was a beautiful one, regardless strengthening the capacity of FTM Gambia in running campaigns, including having a well structured internal system and processes for improvement in performance of its activities for phenomenal outcomes and results, it was a great opportunity to meet our colleagues there. Also, we enjoyed good Gambian meals, met several friends and enjoyed the beautiful coastal scenery of the country. In addition, the NACEET afforded me the opportunity to meet vibrant and passionate Gambians who were ready to make sure their country works through being active citizens.

By the end of the year, FTM Gambia would have carried campaigns in 20 constituencies of the country, while being at the frontline of strategic and multi-dimensional advocacy for the enactment of a Freedom of Information Bill in the New Gambia.

Press Release: Government Should Scale-Up Primary Health Care Service Delivery Nationwide

Hamzat Lawal November 16, 2016 0

A leading NGO Connected development [CODE] has called on government at all level to take up one of its responsibilities by ensuring proper facilities are put in place in various primary health care centers in Nigeria.

Following the release of $1.5million dollars from World Bank to the 36 states respectively including the Federal Capital Territory as part of the World Bank supported “Save One million Lives” the Follow the Money team of CODE visited 6 states respectively to assess the state of the PHCs to track the implementation of these funds. These states are Akwa Ibom, Enugu, Kano, Kogi, Osun and Yobe.

Findings from the field visit to each of the states are appalling as most of the Primary Health Centres are facing several reprehensible and elementary challenges. Generically, most of them have no improved water supply, electricity, security, quarters for hospital staffers; there is no stationed doctor, and the toilet facilities are in a mess. Furthermore, because of these challenges, the PHCs do not operate 24/7, cannot admit or treat sick people and lack sufficient tables & chairs.

Some key Findings:

In Kano

Follow The money team visited Kantudu in Makoda LGA of Kano State. They found out that the PHC serves 2,500 people, all coming from 13 surrounding villages. The PHC was built 5-6 years ago as a senatorial project in Makoda LGA. The PHC has one male and female ward, which are not presently functioning. There are only three staffers with one community health worker who are not certified health professionals.


During the interactive section with the head of community Alhaji Muhammad Musa, and the community association said that they have reached out to the government of Kano twice on the state of the health centre in Kantudu, but there was no response. “We hope this campaign with ONE and CODE will make the government of Kano look at the plight of our health center so that our people can start using it” says Malam Ali, the medical head at the PHC.

In Yobe State

We were in Lantenwa, Yobe where a Primary Health Care is in a messy situation. The PHC in Lantenwa is in Lantewa village, Lantewa ward, Tarmuwa LGA. It serves a population of 13,400 under 5 yrs; 10-15 patients daily, 70-105 weekly. Speaking to the head community ,AuduLantewa, mentioned that the dispensary has been dilapidated for more than 7 years, he added that dispensary situation is critical and he personally reported the issue to local authorities several times. He further lamented that “Lantewa is the gathering centre of four neighbouring with approximately 7,000 registered voters, as such, we should get better things from the government” he said

In Kogi State

We went to the PHC to find out if the implementation of the fund is ongoing as well as to track the implementation of the N10.5 million earmarked by the National Primary Health care Development Agency for the rehabilitation of the PHC. On reaching there, there was no such intervention taking place. The Officer in Charge (OIC) said it was the first time she was hearing of such. The village head whom we paid a courtesy visit to also said he has never heard of such. We then went to the Operational Base of the NsitIbom LGA’s Health Centres and the Director of the base told us that she has never heard of such fund for the PHC’s rehabilitation30817372226_364e4ee1b1_n

In Osun State

Our team went on ground to track the $1.5m earmarked by the World Bank and the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Saving One Million Lives Initiative and all we could see while on the field is nothing to write home about. From our findings, the facility is meant to serve 11 villages which are: Gboore, Alajue-Logun, Asunmo, Ayegbami, Agbopa, Jagun-Odomu, Olodan, Aladie, Amosun, Seesa, Akiribiti amongst others. In total, the target population which the facility is meant to serve is 12,498. 498 of the population are children less than one year, the Primary Health Care Centre has a monthly target of 42 patients, but it ends up serving more than 400 on an average.

Consequently, a Freedom of Information letters was sent to the concerned government institutions and offices for a breakdown of the funds usage, implementation window and respective contractors, especially the governmental institutions concerned, to instantaneously start the implementation of these funds, ensure transparency & accountability in the funds’ implementation, and make government data open in line with the Open Government Partnership.

Follow The Money is a growing movement currently in 32 states of the country, held community outreaches to 10 primary health facilities in Kano, Yobe, Osun, and found out that all were in a state of dysfunction, even with the funds that have been released to the states to upgrade the primary health care “Most of the Clinic at the PHC in the 5 states that our community reporters visited were in an abandoned state, lacks basic healthcare amenities and needs urgent attention to serve people at local communities.” affirmed Hamzat Lawal, CODE’s Chief Executive & Co-Founder, Follow The Money.   

He stressed that annually, over 70,000 children below age 5 in Nigeria die due to poor access to healthcare and sanitation-related illnesses (UNICEF). Lawal urged government actions to serve the people by improving better service delivery while ensuring transparency and accountability.

More pictures can be found here


Wadiam Papka: My Internship Experience with CODE so Far

Hamzat Lawal June 22, 2016 4

On a fateful Monday evening, as I discussed with my sister on certain plans I had made for myself for summer 2016 amongst which I mentioned an interest in working in any organization to gain an experience and also experience the real world. With excitement she exclaimed, “Yes!! I know an organization you would love to work in” and with my funny facial expression I replied, “ how serious can you be? I haven’t even enjoyed my summer yet and you want me to start working? I was just joking oo!”

Little did I know she went out of her way to reach out to the organization for a placement interview and at night she sent me a message “we have a place to go on Friday at 11am, but before then make sure you read on Connected Development [CODE] and have an idea about it.” I did exactly what she said and I found myself constantly visiting the organization’s website even when I want to check up something on the Internet, I kept checking on their website as well.

As Friday came, the clock kept ticking as my heart kept panting hard. I began to panic while different thoughts were flying into my head “what if they don’t accept you? Why can’t you just say you are not interested again? Is it really necessary to gain the experience? Would you be welcomed into the organization?”

While all these thoughts were traveling in my head, I found myself in front of a sign post reading “Connected Development, Empowering Marginalized Communities”.

Then I knew the work experience was real. I shook off the fear in me, and walked in. Immediately I opened the door I saw about six people looking at me and they took their faces off while they all worked on their laptops.

Walking further, I saw a “young chap” in an Alhaji’s cap on, I was wondering ‘ Is this the owner of the organization? Or is this his friend?  All these assumptions were rectified when he introduced himself as Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive of CODE. He asked what I knew about CODE, and I poured all I read from the website. He cracked jokes and I laughed, it served as a piece of relief for me while I was expecting to see a man who had a straight face and does not smile after all the stories I heard from friends about their bosses at various organizations where they happen to work.  To my amazement, this man was totally different. After our conversation, he told me ‘Wadiam, welcome to CODE, let me introduce you to the team.”  Having met the team, and introduced myself, I was totally calm to have seen a little me accepted as an intern in CODE.

Two weeks later, I received an email urging me to resume on June 8, 2016 at 8am. I was quite sad as I expected to resume by 9am, but well, I obviously had to adapt.

I walked in on June 8, with my shy self, as I met everyone, they embraced me and we developed a relationship within ourselves. I would basically regard CODE not as an organization but rather a family.

Sadly, on my second day at CODE, I had an experience of a lifetime. As I sat on a chair, reading an article on my laptop, within the twinkle of an eye, I found myself on the floor. I realized I just fell down not knowing I sat down a bad chair, it was so funny and at the same time it wasn’t funny because I felt embarrassed. But then! When I remember that fall, I just sit and laugh on my own because of the way everything just occurred in seconds.

IMG_5984So far so good, working with this family, I have learnt to use the Google drive, social media as means of creating awareness to the public not only chatting and communicating with friends, I have also learnt to build up my self-confidence. Building my confidence is one of the best things I have learnt knowing my very shy part as a person. In the same vein, I have learnt how to build proper and healthy relationship with people while working as a team.

While working as an intern at CODE, I expect to teach a lot of things aside the ones I have learnt already. I would like to still understand the aspect of development strategies, making a stringent policy and how to implement as well as review such policies to enable its efficiency.

I would say on a brief note that this being my first internship experience, has been an amazing and challenging one for me as I would always want to return and work here after my school.

‘It is our collective responsibility to accelerate the implementation of SDGs’  – Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed

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Minister of Environment, Amina Mohammed, who has been one of the major influencers of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched late last year in New Yok has reiterated her stance on SDGs once again at the inaugural town hall meeting tagged ‘Buharimeter’in Abuja yesterday.

Amina posited that the role environment plays in actualising each of these Global Goals (SDGs) cannot be overemphasised hence it’s important that all Nigerian citizens get involved in its implementations so as to accelerate and maximise its impacts on our nation’s overall economic growth.  ‘We cannot leave everything for the government to do, Yes, Ministers are public servants and it is a privileged to be one, but things would only work perfectly if we can earn your cooperation and work together in achieving all these goals. She stated that this administration would ensure that its delivers on all its promises at addressing security issues, ensuring steady infrastructural development and revamping the economy.

The Minister, who had earlier visited the lead poisoning affected communities in Niger State like Shikira, mentioned that the emergency response to remediation of these communities would commence as soon as the fund for the remediation is approved by the Federal Government. “In collaboration with Ministry of Solid Minerals, we will commence the remediation of these affected communities in Niger State’ she alluded.

The Buharimeter Townhall Meeting was organised by Centre For Democracy and Development (CDD) aimed at assessing the one year in office of President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) government. The event had five federal Ministers in attendance namely: Lai Mohammed (Information and Culture), Babatunde Fashola (Power, Works, and Housing), Audu Ogbeh (Agriculture and Rural Development), Amina Mohammed (Environment), and Udo Udoma (Budget and National Planning).


CODE’S Follow The Money Receives Grant from Omidyar Network

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Follow The Money, a nonprofit initiative of Connected Development [CODE] has been awarded a one-year grant of US$100,000  ( NGN19, 894, 994 million) by Omidyar Network, mainly towards the cost of their projects in local communities which includes stakeholders meetings, focus group discussions, travel support, and visualization.

Founded in 2012 by Hamzat Lawal & Oludotun Babayemi, Follow The Money uses traditional offline engagement methods and technology tools to track government and aid spending at the local level. In 2012, the initiative was able to save the lives of about 1,500 children in Bagega, Zamfara state who needed  urgent medical attention for lead poisoning.   And after the 2012 flooding in Nigeria, the group was able to track 17 Billion NGN allocated for intervention and document the impact on affected rural communities. In 2015, the group’s activities convinced the federal government of Nigeria to change its controversial US$49.8 million (NGN 9.2 billion) clean cookstoves plan.

“Foreign aid and government spending should be grounded in in how spending affects local community realities.  Government programmes that track the impact of funds in local contexts are still remarkably rare,” said Hamzat Lawal, the chief executive of Connected Development.

Omidyar Network’s grant comes through the philanthropic investment firm’s Governance & Citizen Engagement initiative, which works to build stronger and more open societies by increasing government responsiveness and citizen participation.

In the past, Follow The Money had received grants from The Indigo Trust, Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA), Heinrich Boell Foundation, and Open Knowledge Foundation and The European Union.


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[In Abuja – Nigeria, for Connected Development/Follow The Money , Oludotun Babayemi +234 09 291 7545 0r/and]


For more information about Follow The Money, please visit

For more information about Omidyar Network , please visit


Editor’s Note:

Follow The Money is an initiative of Connected Development [CODE] that advocates, tracks, and visualize funds meant for local communities. The Team is made up of Researchers, Data Analysts, Campaigners, Journalists, Legal Practitioners, Activists, Information Managers, Students, and Academia & Development Consultants.


CODE is a non-government organization whose mission is to improve access to information and empower local communities in Africa. We strengthen local communities by creating platforms for dialogue, enabling informed debate, and building capacities of marginalized communities which ensure social and economic progress while promoting transparency and accountability.