In response to the DSS attack of Sahara Reporters publisher Omoyele Sowore on court premises Dec 6, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism has postponed the presentation of a media award to Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
According to Mojisola Alaka, coordinator of the centre, Osinbajo himself shares this awareness and the inappropriateness of the award at this point.
“The award, I note, is for our Justice reform efforts in Lagos State. I had accepted the award with pride on behalf of the excellent Justice Sector team we had,” Osinbajo said in a letter to the centre.
“However, two reasons explain my absence. First is that I am currently in Abu Dhabi for an international meeting under the auspices of the government of the UAE where I am the keynote speaker.
“Second, in view of the developments on Friday in the Sowore case, I think it would be insensitive and inappropriate to attend the ceremony.
The President Muhammadu Buhari government has been taking bad raps, locally and internationally, since its secret service allegedly ambushed Sowore just released from its detention since August 3 when a mass protest, Revolution Now, to be led by the media activist was botched.
Critics have particularly raised hell about the repression of free speeches the government is apparently introducing into Nigeria’s democracy.
It will obviously contradictory if a prominent member of the administration gets media recognition for whatever contribution.
But the event will hold as scheduled on Monday, 9th December 2019 by 6pm, Alaka said in a press release on Monday.
The WSCIJ holds the award presentation event on December 9, the World Anti-Corruption Day and eve of the World Human Rights Day to highlight the importance of investigative reporting as a tool for accountability, good governance and social justice in a democracy.
Thirteen journalists from print, online, television, radio, photo, and editorial cartoon categories will be celebrated at the event.
Veteran photojournalist, Sunmi Smart-Cole and Amnesty International Nigeria will also be presented honorary awards of the Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence and the Anti-Corruption Defender Award (Human Rights Specialty) respectively.