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Incoming Ministers Inherit Dormant Websites

Dormant Websites
Incoming ministers under the Muhammadu Buhari-led administration have more to worry about than salaries and portfolios. Checks by our correspondent on some of federal ministries’ websites on Tuesday showed that they had not been update for months.

Web presence for government agencies does not only serve as an avenue where the citizenry can get authentic information, it is also important in tracking government activities and engaging the public.

However, the Ministry of Works is lagging behind with stale posts and information that have not been updated in the last one year.

For this ministry, the biggest and most recent post on its works.gov.ng is titled, “Third Mainland Bridge is not collapsing- FG”. The outdated post, which was a reaction to a statement by Senator Gbenga Ashafa, who was then elected under the platform of the Action Congress of Nigeria, was posted in 2013.

Perhaps, it could also be assumed that the ministry had not fixed a single pothole since Mike Onolememen, the former minister of works, exited the national stage with the defeat of former President Goodluck Jonathan.

The other information, categorised on the website of the ministry as Latest Posts, bordered on events that took place in February, when Onolememen was at the Senate to defend the ministry’s budget , which was slashed by the Ministry of Finance from ₦100bn to ₦11bn.

The outlook is not so different for the Ministry of Education. The latest post on its education.gov.ng came up in February, when the then Supervising Minister of Education, Nyesom Wike, appeared before the House of Representatives Committee on Education to defend the budget of the ministry.

Eight months after, Wike has moved on to become the Governor of Rivers State but the ministry’s website has stagnated.

A peep into fmh.gov.ng, the website of the Federal Ministry of Health, also reveals a moribund online presence. According to the site, a former Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, who resigned his appointment last year, is still presiding over the affairs of the ministry. Also conspicuous on the site is the weekly epidemiology reports, which was last updated in 2013.

However, the Federal Ministry of Environment, on its environement.gov.ng, appears to hold the ace with more recent pictures and child-friendly visuals. The ministry, headed by the Permanent Secretary, Mrs. Fatima Mede, has pictures of the 2015 World Environment Day, marked in June, streaming on its website.

Meanwhile, it is a mix bag for the Federal Ministry of Finance. While it was, on Tuesday, indicated that the Federal Government, states and local governments shared the sum of ₦511.799bn in July, it was odd that the immediate past Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, was still referred to as the minister. Six months after she ceased to be the helmsman, her official engagements and awards were still streaming on the website.

According to GCI, an international organisation which supports public sector IT managers, a government’s website must be easy to navigate and offer access to information as well as financial data not traditionally provided to the public. It also advises IT managers working for the government sites to improve on the design and features of the sites, while also leveraging on the load time, content and layout to retain the attention of visitors.


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