WOLE SOYINKA AWARD FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
Winning Works 2008
Funso Muraina’s serialized story of grand corruption won the first prize in the Print category. The work details investigations into the use of public funds (in the health sector) and unfolds contract scam, kickbacks and gross mismanagement and diversion of public funds for personal use. The report also named the involvement of key political personalities and leaders like the Minister, Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, in the multi-million naira health contract scam, and draws out the implications of such corrupt leaders on both the health of the citizenry and the image of the nation.
Ademola Akinlabi’s Minimum force comments on human rights abuse on the streets of Nigeria. The work exposes the brutality of state security agents, mostly Nigerian policemen, on civilians. The photo entry shows a man who has just been beaten to a pulp by policemen for driving ‘against the convoy of state government officials’ and is taken away in a police patrol van possibly for further punishment!
Such actions prompt the question of what role the police exists to play in the society and if indeed, the country practices democracy.
In the name of the police won Deji Badmus the first prize in the broadcast (TV) category. A story of monumental fraud, it chronicles the activities of certain individuals, who in connection with the President, siphoned funds meant for developing one of the nation’s prized sectors – the Police. The grand corruption that saw the diversion of the ‘Police Equipment Fund’ is capable of ruining institutions and the entire country.
Deji’s investigations and later report threatened his freedom of expression, and movement as he had to keep a low profile to stay alive.
Written by Solomon Adebayo, the entry ‘AEPB/HAWKERS’ is a commentary on extra-judicial abduction, detention, extortion and torture as tools of oppression used by state agents against the populace. A Board charged with ensuring adherence to environmental sanitation gradually became a terrorist band to traders, artisans and pedestrians in Abuja; a lawyer joins forces to oppress the helpless victims too.
The investigations and reporting though were followed by threats to Solomon’s security, yielded fruits as the state government, Human Rights and legal groups sprung to action following the harrowing reports. The illegal cells were thus closed and detainees released. Solomon won the prize for best entry in the Broadcast (Radio) category.