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Promoting Good Governance.

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The International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, is an independent, nonprofit news agency that seeks to promote transparency and accountability through robust and objective investigative reporting. The ICIR’s mission is to promote good governance and entrench democratic values by reporting, exposing, and combating corruption. The Center is envisioned to be a catalyst in encouraging and fostering a tradition of journalistic excellence through creative investigative reporting, online publishing, and training programs.

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ICIR Board of Trustee

Oluwafisan Bankale, Acting Chairman of the Board, is currently Policy Officer/Focal Point, ECOWAS Advisory Board on Small Arms and Light Weapons where he gives policy support in political affairs, peace and security. An accomplished journalist, he joined the Sketch Press Limited in 1985 as Senior Sub-Editor and later became Editor (’93-97) and then Editor-in-Chief/CEO (’99-’00). During the campaign to enthrone Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria in the 1990s, he provided technical and managerial leadership that contributed to making the Daily Sketch a major player in that epic struggle. He was a consultant to several agencies in the United Nations system for many years and worked for about five years as National Adviser to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Bankale is a Chevening Scholar (’91) and an alumnus of the United Nations University International Leadership Academy in Jordan, University of Wales in the UK, University of Ibadan and University of Ife, now Obafemi  Awolowo University both in Nigeria.  He is married to Oyetayo and they have four children.

Hauwa Abdu Biu is a professor of curriculum and instruction (Science) at the Department of Education, University of Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria. She obtained her B. Sc. Ed and M. Ed from the University of Maiduguri and a Doctorate from Kenyatta University, Kenya. Prof. Biupossesses skills in research and documentation on gender issues, with greater emphasis on bridge-building between communities (peace negotiation and mediation), training of trainers on gender issues and conflict resolution.

She is the Borno State coordinator of BAOBAB for Women’s Human Rights and has been active in the campaign to Bring Back Our Girls, liaising with the Chibok community, amongst others. Prof Biu has been involved in humanitarian assistance to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North East and has helped to coordinate distribution of relief materials to IDPs residing in host communities and in IDP camps.

Prof Biu is also a member of the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI) and heads the subcommittee on education and social development, which works towards ensuring the education of the children of the IDPs in addition to improving the quality of health and welfare of all IDPs.

Lara Owoeye-Wise is a multi-award winning Journalist whose experience spans some two decades. She started work at The Punch newspapers in 1993 and has worked at Am News, Tempo and The news magazines.

She crossed over to the electronic media in 2004 where she worked at the Silverbird television, Minaj Broadcast International, and AIT as a senior news editor and news anchor. She currently works as a media aide to the Deputy Speaker, House of Representatives.

Investigative reporting is Lara’s turf and this is evident in the quality of daring stories she has turned out over the years. She is the second female journalist to win the prestigious Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting in 2006. She is currently an aide to the Deputy Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives.

Wale Fatade is Executive Director, Media Support Centre, Lagos, a media NGO dedicated to providing leadership in the production and dissemination of media content to advance accountability in governance and enhance civil society community engagement in social change.  His involvement with journalism started as a newspaper vendor in Lokoja, the Kogi State capital while on his National Youth Service Corp assignment. He later worked with The Guardian newspapers before joining others in pioneering Daily Independent newspaper in 2002. 
An alumnus of the University of Ibadan, where he studied Zoology, Fatadewas a Ford Foundational International Fellow at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in the City of New York where he graduated with a Master of Science degree in Journalism in 2005. He is a past winner of the Nigerian Media Merit Award. 
He has worked as a consultant with some United Nations agencies and the Ford Foundation West Africa office. Also, he was an Assistant Managing Editor with NEXT but is currently involved in training and mentoring young journalists. 
He is married with two boys.

Seember Nyager, is currently a Public Policy Manager at Google. Before this, she was CEO at the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) in Nigeria, an organization that mobilizes people to monitor and report on public procurement to improve the quality of public services. Through her organization, she successfully advocated for the adoption of the Open Contracting Data Standard by the Nigerian Government; using a platform called Budeshi to demonstrate the utility of open contracting data. During her tenure at PPDC, she introduced an annual FOI Compliance Ranking system for public institutions in Nigeria. Seember worked with partners in the region to introduce systemic CSO Public Procurement Monitoring in many countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and played a leading role in securing Nigeria’s commitment to join the Open Government Partnership. Her areas of expertise lie in the intersection of media, law & technology for social and economic development. She is particularly interested in exploring the active role of private sector organizations in making open contracting a global norm. 

Dayo Aiyetan is the founding Executive Director of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, Abuja. He was a senior associate editor and Abuja Bureau chief of TELL Magazine, Nigeria’s leading political weekly, until May 2010 when he resigned to set up the Centre. A graduate of Theatre Arts/English from the University of Ibadan, he started his journalism career in as a Features Writer with Sketch Newspapers, Ibadan and later worked at the Concord Newspapers for about a decade. During the closure of Concord by the military, he taught Investigative Journalism at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, Ogba, Lagos.

In August 2009, Aiyetan participated in the International Visitors Leadership Program sponsored by the United States State Department. In October 2010,he returned to the US as a fellow at the International Forum for Democratic Studies at the National Endowment for Democracy, NED.  His presentation was on “Combating Corruption in Nigeria: The Promise of Investigative Reporting. In 2017, he became the first black African knight Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan.

An investigative reporter, media trainer and newsroom mentor, Aiyetan from 2014 served a consultant and lead trainer for the Institute of War and Peace Reporting, IWPR’s Access Nigeria Project, during which he has trained and mentored some 50 journalists.

He is a member of the Forum of African Investigative Reporters, FAIR, and the Investigative Reporters and Editors, IRE. In January 2016, he led the ICIR to be become a member of the prestigious Global Investigative Journalism Network, GIJN.

Code of Ethic

Credibility and integrity are the twin values that give news and journalists meaning in any society. A news organization without integrity cannot endure. In the same vein, a reporter whose integrity is doubtable cannot go far. At the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, where our mission is to use our work to promote accountability and transparency in the public space, our values are driven by the highest ethical standards. This code of ethics is like a social contract by which we are bound. And everybody who accepts to work at the ICIR must accept to be held responsible to these ethical demands. Our code of ethics is a guiding principle and draws from ethical policies of other well established news publishing traditions. Different parts of this code applied to journalists, staff and the board of trustees of the Centre.

We will take utmost care to be fair to all subjects in news stories. All sides of a story must have their say. Fairness is a cardinal requirement in Journalism, more so investigative reporting. If anybody is involved in anything that appears negative or unseemly, an extra effort must be made to get his own side of the story. If any such person declines comment, it should be so stated.

Also, facts must be accurately presented. Facts are sacred. In dealing with sources, document, databases and the Internet, it is not enough to quote the information gotten correctly, an effort must be made to establish its accuracy. Where possible, cross check your facts again and again using different sources. And don’t forget, when in doubt, leave out. It is better not to have a piece of information in your story than to publish falsehood and mislead the reader.
Deliberate fabrication or distortion of facts will not be allowed.

We must as much as possible identify sources of information. We will grant anonymity to a source if he or she insists only if we determine that the information is important and cannot be obtained otherwise on record; the source is knowledgeable and credible; there is a good reason for confidentiality such as threat to life or risk of job loss. Even then, in your story describe the sources in as safe a manner as not to disclose his or her identity and state why he cannot be identified. It might also help to state how much you trust him or have found him reliable in the past. Whatever the case, the supervising editor must demand and obtain the source’s identity and be the ultimate judge of whether anonymity should be granted or not.
A reporter may not make any promises that might impose obligations on the Centre without telling his or her supervising editor.
Also we will not pay a source for information or to obtain a document. An exception can only be if a source needs money for transportation, photocopying or any such similar reasons to obtain a document or information.

Interviews with sources are an important aspect of the work of the investigative reporter. So he has to get it right. Always try to get people to talk to you on record. And ensure that you tell them you are recording your conversation. It is the honorable thing to do. Record people surreptitiously only in exceptional cases such as when they would not otherwise speak to you and if the information they posses is of vital importance.

Although investigative reporting comes with some professional hazards, reporters on the field must always identify themselves if they are working on behalf of the Centre. Never mislead people about who you are or represent.  In conducting interview, dealing with sources or seeking and obtaining documents or assistance in reporting a story, the reporter must clearly identify himself and the medium he or she works for. We must avoid undercover reporting as much as necessary and resort to secretly obtaining information only when it cannot be otherwise obtained and if it is of utmost importance for the public to have it. In any case, no reporter can determine to obtain information or documents undercover without the knowledge and permission of the supervising editor. And where extraordinary means is used in obtaining information, it should be so stated in the story. The ICIR will not use fictional names or pseudonyms.

Reporters and editors at the ICIR must do their work with total allegiance to the ideals of the Centre and the interest of the public. In gathering, reporting, writing or editing news, reporters and editors must maintain their independence in relating with sources and subjects of the story. While working on a story, it is not allowed to accept free lunches, gifts, awards, from a source or story subject be it an individual or corporate entity. Avoid conflicts of interest and when you suspect that one might occur, tell your supervising editor.

As an investigative reporting news agency with a mission to expose abuse of power or office and acts of corruption, the ICIR and its workers must exhibit the strictest professional conduct. No ICIR employee or any member of its board of trustees may offer anybody, directly or indirectly, any money, gift, service or material with a view to influence anybody in taking a decision affecting the Centre.
Also, no employer of the ICIR or any member of its board of trustees may receive money, gifts, or any kind of inducement from anybody or corporate entity that acts as a news source or provider of information or, in fact, anyone else with a business relationship with the Centre.
No reporter, editor, staff or member of the board of trustees may receive cash or gifts of any type from anybody whosoever with the aim of influencing the publishing or non publishing of any story or other material by the Centre.
Specifically, no reporter may receive gifts at whatever time of the year in whatever guise from anybody or corporate entity, including companies and government or its agents about which he reports about.
Also, no employee of the ICIR, particularly editorial staff, may render consultancy services, directly or indirectly, to any individual, private or public agency and their officials as this may throw up conflict of interest issues.

The ICIR is a nonprofit organization and will seek and receive funds from local and international donor agencies, civil society organizations and individuals. The centre will not, however, accept funding or other assistance from politically exposed persons, particularly those facing prosecution. The ICIR will also receive funding from some government agencies or departments for specific programs or activities such as training of journalists. Our accepting funding from any individual or organization will in no way tie our hands if we have to report on their activities. All contributors will have their names published on the Centre’s website except if otherwise instructed.

The ICIR’s policy on conflict of interest is to ensure that at every point in time any one representing the Centre act in the best interest of its values, goals and nonprofit status. Representatives of the ICIR in this context include members of the board of trustees and advisory board, executive director, financial and legal advisers or employee.

The ICIR will not guarantee any personal loans to any of its representatives

No representative of the ICIR, including reporters working in the field, shall accept gifts, inducements, bribes or favours that could compromise the integrity of its work. No cash gifts, offers of airline tickets, holidays, hotel accommodation or other personal benefits may be accepted from persons who might be interested in the outcome of any of the Centre’s reports. No gift in any guise may be received from anyone to influence the direction or outcome of the Centre’s investigative projects.

Anybody representing the ICIR in any transaction or decision making process must disclose any known or perceived conflict of interest to the Executive Director or Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Examples of conflict of interest situations are given below:

  1. Ownership by  an ICIR representative of shares or other capital interest in a company that is or will be the subject of an investigative project or report by the Centre
  2. An existing relationship between a representative of the ICIR and a subject of the Centre’s investigative projects or reports
  3. A representative of the ICIR who also has interests in another entity where he or she might have to represent the Centre
  4. When family and friends are involved in ICIR investigative reports
  5. If a representative, friend or family member related to an ICIR representative has in an interest in any transaction or contractual agreement that the Centre might enter into
    • When any representative perceives a himself or herself as having a conflict of interest, he or she shall promptly notify the executive director in writing and make full disclosure of the facts available
    • The executive director, depending on the urgency and magnitude of the conflict will determine whether to handle the matter, consult other members of the board of trustees or set up an in house committee to look into the matter.
    • Whoever examines the matter will call a meeting of all parties to the conflict of interest to present material facts of the issue. It is then decided if a conflict exists or might arise in future and what action to take to prevent a conflict of interest.