Lagos (Nigeria) – Nigeria’s Nobel Laureate and human rights activist, Wole Soyinka, has decried the recurrence of arbitrary use of force by security operatives, especially officers of the Nigerian Army to unleash terror on helpless civilians, and called on the Muhammadu Buhari led government as a matter of urgency to put a stop to that practice.
Wole Soyinka made the call during the 10th anniversary celebration of the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting Thursday, in Lagos.
He emphasized that having come out of a difficult twenty-nine year military rule; Nigerians must be allowed to enjoy the freedom that democracy promises – with issues of court contempt and unauthorized detention tackled.
During the awards presentations, two honorary awards were awarded to a veteran broadcaster, Bimbo Oloyede and immediate past Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Attahiru Jega – the lifetime award for journalistic excellence and the anti-corruption defender award.
Also, twelve journalists were celebrated for their outstanding work; five of which became Soyinka Laureates, four made the runners-up list and four were commended for a job well done – one of the finalists made both the commended work and laureate list.
One of the journalist, Adekunle Yusuf of The Nation newspaper was commended for his story, ‘How Corruption, Leadership Hamper NDLEA’s Drug War’ – his work details challenges of compromise ravaging Nigeria’s drug law enforcement agency. He also doubled as the winner of the print category, with his piece, ‘Inside the Oil Deals That Cost Nigeria Billions,’ yet another account of the corruption plaguing Nigeria’s oil and gas sector.
Motunrayo Joel of The Punch Newspaper was selected as the runner-up in the print category with her piece, ‘Ovum Trading: Inside Nigeria’s Multi-Million Naira Human Egg Business’. In her work, she called on the public’s attention to a dangerous and quietly growing issue of sales of human egg by young girls.
Ikechukwu Ibe of Daily Trust whose photo story was on, ‘Soldiers punishing a civilian at Mararaba, Nasarawa State’ was the winning work and the commended piece.
Ayodele Ojo of The Sun photo, ‘Mercy please, mercy’ by, both vivid images of the high handedness of soldiers, served as reference points on the need to curb the excesses of security forces in the country.
Adedayo Odusanya of The Punch was runner up in the category with his photo titled, ‘Double Jeopardy’, a picture of students whose classroom was in an open space sandwiched between stenches from a refuse dump and an abandoned cemetery.
In the editorial cartoon category, Chukwuemeka Emenike of The New Telegraph newspaper was declared runner up for his piece, ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’, which commented on the challenges with mutinying soldiers in the fight against Boko Haram, while ‘Chasing shadows’, Asukwo Bassey’s cartoon, published in the Business Day Newspaper, highlighting the challenge of motion without movement by Nigeria’s anti-corruption agencies in the fight against menace, was selected winner of the category.
In the television and radio categories, Sumner Sambo of Television Continental won the television category with his story on ‘Cattle Rustling in Northern Nigeria’, a narrative on the ordeal of cattle rearers in Northern Nigeria on what faced in the hands of armed notorious groups.
Kikelomo Ifekoya of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) on her part was commended also for bringing to the fore the now increasing case of domestic violence with her piece, ‘Domestic violence against women’.
In the online category, Bassey Udo of Premium Times was commended for his story, ‘Inside the Huge Scam Leading to Sale of Nigeria’s Aluminium Plant, ALSCON, to Russia’s RUSAL’ a narration of how the Nigerian government used the Russian Aluminium, RUSAL as front to perpetuate corrupt practices.
Fisayo Soyombo of The Cable was selected as the runner-up for this category with his series, ‘Ebola in Liberia, an account of the corruption that attended the Ebola Fund while also reminding many of the high costs of the spread of the epidemic from Liberia to Nigeria.
Emmanuel Oglala’s piece, ‘Investigation: Jonathan, Alison-Madueke, Tunde Ayeni, named in fraudulent oil contracts that cost Nigeria billions’, an elaborate emphasis on the rut in Nigeria’s oil and gas sector won the category. Ogala, was also the lucky winner of the 2015 WSCIJ-Nigerian Investigative Journalist of the year award.
As part of the tenth year anniversary celebration, the WSCIJ hosted a public viewing of its documentary, ‘Report Women: The Untold Stories of Girls and Women in Nigeria’, at the Silver Bird Galleria, Ikeja, Lagos. The documentary also marks the human rights day and the end of the ‘orange the world’ sixteen-day United Nation led campaign to end every form of violence against girls and women globally.