CivicHub

Remember that Civic Codeathon BudgIT hosted in 2014? The one where a couple of smart people came together in teams to build tools to address challenges citizens face? That one. Well, the fruits of all that labour have been condensed into civichub.com.ng.

BudgIT introduced few of the tools over the week on Twitter.

FOIvault.com helps track documents requested under the provision of the Freedom of Information Act, and the responses provided for these requests. The FOI Act is a law that provides every Nigerian citizen the right to access documents or records held by the government or any private organisation performing public functions. It was signed into law in 2011 but there have been reports of non-compliance on the part of organisations. What this website does is throw the whole process into the open.

Findacop.ng helps you, well, find a cop. If you are in Lagos. This website searches for the nearest police stations in a particular area. The homepage also has emergency numbers for services such as LASTMA and the Child Abuse Helpline. Personally, I like the FindACop idea because honestly, we could do with a service like that. What with the many tweets and reports of people being robbed or needing help without having the necessary information to contact law enforcement bodies.

According to the Civic Hub site’s about page, the tools “aim to improve citizen awareness about crime, public safety, justice, governance, corruption and security issues, while also creating an outlet through which they can engage in holding government accountable for the delivery of services”.

I think it’s ironic that we should be talking about granting access to data that is labeled “public” in the first place, but yeah, Nigeria is a…special place. Fuel scarcity, insecurity and power issues aside, we run one of the most opaque governments I’ve ever seen. I mean, the National Assembly is one giant vacuum cleaner that sucks in N120 billion every year, and spends their days debating about how many wives to marry. True story. Fortunately, the good folk over at BudgIT are working tirelessly at driving transparency in governance.

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