On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme

This blogpost is a report by Kingsley Agu from FollowTheMoney Kaduna in Nigeria who received funding from Hivos to contracting data including responses to FOI letters and on the spot assessment of projects and infrastructures across communities in Kaduna state.

Participants at Follow the Money Kaduna's Open Data Day 2020 event

Participants at Follow the Money Kaduna’s Open Data Day 2020 event

Follow The Money Kaduna’s Open Data Day event featured participants from various organisations and the Ministry of Education in Kaduna state. It was a moment for the participants to get to network as they introduced themselves individually stating in brief their professional background and other areas of expertise.

Connected Development Project Officer Zaliha Lawal (on behalf of Hamzat Lawal, the Chief Executive of Follow The Money) welcomed everyone and presented the agenda. The Ministry of Education, Kaduna state –  ably represented by Helen Kafoi – then gave opening remarks and presented the goodwill message from the Ministry to the participants.

It was now time to get into the event proper as I gave an overview of open data, open contracting, Freedom of Information and the celebration of Open Data Day. I explained that the event would focus on the projects awarded by the Ministry of Education in 2019 as well as reports of on-the-spot assessments of some of these projects before laying out the steps Follow the Money used to access information on public government projects around Kaduna state. FollowTheMoney Kaduna Chapter wrote a Freedom of Information (FOI) request letter to the Ministry of Education on the details of the contracts awarded by the Ministry in 2019. The Ministry responded and made the requested details available.

A total of 72 projects ranging from building of schools, offices and school fence to the renovation of existing schools, provision of internet facilities and supplies of classroom furniture across the 23 local government areas in Kaduna state and worth over 10 billion Naira were awarded by the Ministry of Education in Kaduna state in 2019.

Next was the presentation of on-the-spot assessments of some of these projects by Follow The Money champions in Kaduna. Zaliha Lawal introduced the champions and what they do for FollowTheMoney Kaduna, they were then invited to present their respective status report on the projects they are tracking in their local communities.

Ibrahim Muhammad Shamsudeen presented the status of the following project: Expansion and Rehabilitation of Wall Fence in LEA Ibadan Stree – Sabon Gari, Zaria whose status was found out that there is no such school at the stated location; and Construction of Perimeter Fence for LGEA Kufaina – Sabon Gari, Zaria worth N79,947,250.00 which is yet to be completed. Ibrahim went a step further to advocate for the rehabilitation of a dilapidated school LGEA Anguwan Makeri Primary School in Sabon Gari, Zaria which was not included in the list of projects. Before the FTM champion intervened, the school was in a dilapidated state with broken roofs, no desks, no access to WASH facilities and the number of out-of-school children was twice the number of the present students then. After the advocacy campaign, it caught the attention of the House of Assembly member representing the local government area who promptly acted on it and the school is currently being renovated.

Abubakar Mohammed Yayanko presented the status of the following project: Construction of Wall Buildings GJSS Asmau Makarfi – Kaduna North, Kaduna worth N66,000,000 which has reached an advanced stage of completion as the last visit on the 5th of March 2020; Construction of Cubide Toilets GGSS Kawo – Kaduna North, Kaduna where only 10% of the planned work has been completed despite releases from government and the project deadline having passed. Helen from the Ministry of Education responded and explained that some contractors do collect money meant for education projects and divert them to another project and that the ministry has taken the issue seriously and will hold them accountable.

Mohammed Bayero Yayandi presented the status of the following project: Repair/Renovation and Wall Fencing of Arc. Namadi Sambo GSS Kabala West – Kaduna South, Kaduna worth N102,489,381.75 and the current status showed that only one block of the classroom is left uncompleted.

Abdullahi Abubakar Ladan presented the status of the following projects: Construction of Wall Fence LEA Gwari Road – Kaduna North, Kaduna. The N26,432,072.00 project was awarded for the purpose of fencing a single school and the ministry marked the project as completed in 2019. Ladan found out that it was actually three schools that are in that same compound and they collectively lack access to WASH, wheelchair accessible entrance, slab for crossing drainage and there is also a block of abandoned toilets. On the Rehabilitation of School Building GSS Kigo Road – Kaduna North, Kaduna, Ladan stated that on his last visit to the school on the 5th of March 2020, the project was about 95% complete and that from what he saw, the implementation of the N258,949,843.70 project is satisfactory.

Abdullahi Bala Muhammad presented the status of the Rehabilitation of Administrative Block Rimi College Unguwan Rimi – Kaduna North, Kaduna project worth N116,361,078.00. As at October 2019, it was discovered that there were no funds released, and at the moment, the project is at only a 35% completion state.

Participants at Follow the Money Kaduna's Open Data Day 2020 event

Participants at Follow the Money Kaduna’s Open Data Day 2020 event

The event also featured a panel discussion moderated by Zaliha Lawal on education financing and the free education policy in Kaduna state. The panelists responded to numerous questions with Helen from the Ministry of Education promising to take up the issues raised with the implementation of the projects.

Mr. Martins Danjuma took the participants via accessing data through various open contracting portals including budeshi.ng/kadippa, kadppa.kdsg.gov.ng, kdsg.gov.ng and bpp.gov.ng. He also mentioned the Kaduna state government toll-free phone line.

Giving the closing remarks, I thanked all the participants for actively participating in the event. The participants all went home better informed with data that they could use in their respective communities.