A Professor of Mass Communications at the Lagos State University and Chairman of the Judges’ Board of the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting, Lai Oso, has described online reporting as the future of Journalism in Nigeria.
He made the remarks in recognition of the dominance of stories published on online platforms at the 11th edition of the awards which held at the weekend.
The awards ceremony is an initiative of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, WSCIJ, which is dedicated to developing investigative journalism in Nigeria.
Oso commended the online entries assessed as being analytically better, more in-depth and clearly showing the future of reporting.
Interestingly, two of the stories that clinched awards at the event were funded by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, with support from the Ford Foundation.
The first, in the print category, was won by Mojeed Alabi of The New Telegraph newspaper with his story, ‘Inside Nigeria’s N201.79 Billion Budget of Fraud’.
Written in two parts, Alabi’s story revealed that between 2012 and 2014, a total of N201.79 billion had been appropriated for 5,145 capital projects in the South West, but only few of these projects were found to be on ground and were in bad shape despite whopping sums sunk into them.
Another investigative report sponsored by the ICIR also with support from the Ford Foundation, clinched the top prize for the online category.
Fisayo Soyombo’s report titled: “Forgotten Soldiers”, chronicled the plight of some Nigerian soldiers who were part of the anti-terrorism operations in the North East, but who appeared to have been forgotten by the military authorities after they were injured in action.
The report, written in five series, described how some seriously injured soldiers were giving haphazard treatment, those who required artificial limbs were given fake ones while those who required oversea treatment were dumped in a local army medical facility with little attention given them.
Soyombo, the editor of TheCable – an online newspaper – had also won the Newcomer of the year award in the 2016 Free Press Award, held in November 2, in The Hague, Netherlands.
His other report, “The Undercover Investigation: Nigeria’s Custom of corruption bribery and forgery”, was also commended at the awards ceremony.
Soyombo was also proclaimed the 2016 WSCIJ Investigative Reporter Of The Year “for acclaiming the heroism of the Nigerian Army and lending a much needed ode to the gallantry of Nigeria’s hardly sung heroes – soldiers.”