On November 14, 2018 the Nigerian Women Trust Fund hosted Mrs. Toun Okewale Sonaiya, the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of Women Radio (91.7FM), the First Women Radio in Nigeria to as serve the sole panelist for a twitter chat themed: “The Place of Media in the Accountability and Anticorruption Discourse”. The objective was to be further amplify women’s voices through the Gender and Accountability Project (GAP) of The Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) in partnership with Women’s Rights Advancement and Protection Alternatives (WRAPA) and with support from the MacArthur Foundation.
Ms. Toun began her online discussions by decrying the current state of the Country among the comity of nations in relations to corruption ranking. She emphasized that the media is part of the civil society and there is need to strengthen relevant institutions to stem the tide of corruption through capacity building and more collaboration. “Corruption thrives in Nigeria because it has been institutionalized without consequences. Poverty, greed, high rate of unemployment and the breakdown of value system are some of the root causes that encourage corruption” she revealed. Ms. Toun consequently proposed that this menace can only be curtailed if citizen’s collective voices stem from effective anti-corruption campaigns and the demand for accountability are sustained through impartial transparency mechanisms.
On the security of Journalists, Ms. Toun proposed that more attention should be given to safety of local journalists. In her words, deliberate actions from security agencies should be provided especially for journalists who are most vulnerable. In addition, she recommended that the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, 2011 should be fully implemented while the government upholds the media as allies in the fight against corruption.
Lending her voice through her twitter handle, Ms. Mufuliat Fijabi, the Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Women Trust Fund (NWTF) reemphasized that Journalists and Citizens are jointly important in the fight against corruption. She revealed that although there are several factors responsible for the thriving of corruption in Nigeria, the non-inclusive nature of our democracy remains a major factor.
The twitter chat using hashtag #GAP_C, generated over One Hundred Thousand online engagements in an hour and trended as number one in Nigeria during the scheduled period.