WOLE SOYINKA AWARD FOR INVESTIGATIVE REPORTING
Winning Works 2017
Winner: Adekunle Yusuf
Exposed: How Corruption, Favouritism Thrive in Unilorin, published in the Nation Newspaper on 14, 15 & 16 March 2017 by Adekunle Yusuf an investigative reporter who won this award in 2015.
Adekunle’s special report was an investigation into cases of corruption and favouritism in Unilorin. The investigation, which span over four years, uncovered several cases of corrupt practices by top university officials who continually received salaries for positions they did not hold. The reporter masked as a guest lecturer and engaged the services of some university officials to review payslips, policy documents and government salary policies. This story was selected and referred to as a brilliant expose in the administration of an institution, which was presumed to be the citadel of perfection.
Runner up: Mojeed Alabi
Mojeed Alabi for his story Nyanya Blasts: Victims’ Agonies Live On, published in the New Telegraph Newspaper on 27 & 28 July 2017.
Mojeed Alabi is a reporter with New Telegraph newspaper with over seven years’ experience. He was the winner of the print category of the 2016 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting.
This two-part report is an investigation on the whereabouts of about N98 million contributed by some governors in 2014 to support victims of the bomb blasts at the motor park in Nyanya, Abuja. His investigation confirmed that staff members of the secretariat siphoned the money. He covered interactions with those involved including the association of bomb blast victims, and the fraudulent ways in which the funds were withdrawn from the secretariat’s bank account.
Although many of the victims were still left unpaid, the publication of this story prompted payment to some verified victims.
The story was selected for its holistic investigation into the duplicitous use of funds meant for victims of a tragedy.
Commended work: Chinwe Agbeze
Chinwe Agbeze for her story Cheese Balls Company Where Slavery Goes On, published in BusinessDay Newspaper on 19 February 2017. Chinwe is a retail and consumer business investigative correspondent with BusinessDay Newspaper.
Agbeze’s story is an undercover investigation into a Lagos-based Indian cheese balls factory where hygiene and respect for human dignity are disregarded. She disguised as a job seeker and became a casual worker at the manufacturing factory. The story narrates the travails of workers who labour for 12 hours under inhumane conditions for N900/a day salary. The exposé brought to light regulatory failures of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) in its primary duty of ensuring production sites strictly adhere to hygiene standards. Agbeze is commended for her gallantry in using the tool of investigative journalism to expose the labour and health violations in an organisation expected to follow global standards.
Winner: Fisayo Soyombo
Olufisayo Soyombo for his story “Undercover: In Borno, Children are Dying at IDP Camps, Foodstuffs Are ‘Disappearing’ At SEMA Store”, published in The Cable Newspaper on 29 December 2017.
Upon hearing that the government and emergency officials were diverting relief aid meant for victims of insurgency in the north-east, Fisayo embarked on an undercover investigation. He disguised as a relief-aid donor in order to penetrate an IDP camp and the Borno State Emergency Management Agency. His investigations revealed that government agents had been stealing food and other aid materials meant for victims of Boko Haram insurgency housed in Borno IDP camps.
After the story was published, President Buhari said his government was aware of some mistakes and wrongdoings in handling the affairs of IDPs, and in April 2017 suspended Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, following his indictment by the senate for allegedly mismanaging funds in his capacity as Chairman of the Presidential Initiative on the North-East.
Fisayo was winner of the online category of the 2016 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting as well as the 2016 WSCIJ-Nigerian Investigative Journalist of the Year.
Runner up: Kemi Busari
Kemi Busari is runner up for his story Investigation: Corruption, Extortion Reign at Nigeria Immigration Passport Office, published in Premium Times Newspaper on 18 and 27 August 2017.
This two-part reporter’s diary exposed the myriads of corruption perpetrated by officials of Nigeria Immigration Service in the issuance and renewal of international passports. The investigation revealed negotiations with officials who charged as much as N30, 000 for a passport that should cost N17, 000 and N35, 000 for a 64-page passport.
The probe saw a team of investigations sent to Lagos and officers mentioned in the story summoned to the headquarters. The following week, the service closed all shops run by touts within the NIS premises and banned cash payments for passport processing at all passport offices nationwide. The impact of the story was also evident in a follow up with some applicants who paid online and were attended to promptly in Lagos and Abuja offices.
In October 2017, the Senate refused to approve the NIS budget over alleged fraudulent agreements entered with some companies; evidently, the debate and scrutiny by the lawmakers was imminent as a result of corruption in the service exposed recently.
This investigative story was selected for its depth and high impact of the investigation.
Commended work: Ebere Ndukwu
Ebere Ndukwu for his story Investigation… Aregbesola and the Scam Called Opon-Imo, published in Ripples Nigeria on 20 and 21 October 2017.
Ebere is politics correspondent at Ripples Nigeria, an online news platform.
The report was an investigation in the distribution of Opon-Imno, an e-learning device introduced to Osun State secondary schools in 2013. The device was introduced to help solve the educational needs of senior secondary school students in the state. However, despite the introduction of this device, Osun State ranked 29th in 2016 WAEC result. The investigation uncovered fraud and scam, revealing the poor distribution of the device contrary to claims by the state government.
After the investigation, the Osun State government announced the distribution of another round of the device, and made efforts to update the tablets.
Winner: Ayodele Ojo
Award winning journalist Ayodele Ojo is the Chief Photojournalist with the Sun Publishing Limited.
The photograph shows two uniform soldiers beating up a bus conductor for his refusal to allow them board his bus. He had refused because of the financial short-fall he would experience. His explanation however was not taken lightly and the beating unfolded.
The assault of the men in uniform was a humiliation of the driver and the conductor,and depicted the military as lawless. The picture adds to the now growing catalogue of consistent police brutality, a violation of human rights and negation of the purpose of the Nigerian Police and Army.
Ayodele Ojo previously made the list of commended works and was runner-up of the photo category of the 2016 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting.
Runner up: Kolawole Aliu
Kolawole is a journalist who has worked with several media houses such as National Newspapers, Vanguard and National Mirror.
The photograph depicted a law enforcement officer manhandled by hoodlum while he was discharging his duty. The Vehicle Inspection Officer was trying to arrest a traffic offender at Oregun, Ikeja, when a mob decided to shield the offender and molested the law enforcer, almost resulting in a scuffle.
Through this photo, Kolawole wishes that the public would be apprised to abide by traffic rules and keep decorum while expressing themselves. He hoped that this photo would enlighten the public to respect law enforcement officers as they work to ensure safety on our roads.
Commended Work: Ayodele Adeniran
Ayodele is a photojournalist at the Guardian newspaper.
The photograph shows rescue workers retrieving a five-year-old girl who was trapped in a collapsed building in Lagos. Two people lost their lives after the building collapsed following heavy rainfall.
The State Commissioners for Physical Planning and Urban Development spoke on the issue and appealed to property owners and developers to henceforth adhere strictly to Planning and Building laws and regulations. The Lagos State Building Control Agency has also embarked on a comprehensive audit of buildings within the State with the view of identifying defective structures for immediate removal.
This photo is commended for its gripping depiction of the effect of poor building construction on unsuspecting residents.