CONTRARY to claim by Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) that it postponed the presentation of Integrity Award to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo due to protest from Nigerians, the Vice President Monday evening said he couldn’t attend the event because he was away in Abu Dhabi for an international meeting.
The Presidency in a statement issued on Twitter Monday evening stated that the Vice President had sent a letter to the organisers of the event on Sunday, December 8 stating why he would not be attending the event.
“I am extremely grateful for the recognition and award of the “Integrity Specialty of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism’s Anti-corruption Defender Award of 2019” to me.
Presidency Nigeria,”Osinbajo wrote.
“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.
“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,” the VP explained.
“Second, in view of the developments on Friday in the Sowore case, I think it would be insensitive and inappropriate to attend the ceremony.”
This the WSCIJ alluded to in the statement when it said “The Vice President himself shares this awareness and the inappropriateness of the award at this point.”
The WSCIJ early on Monday announced the postponement of the event citing protest on social media by Nigerians against the Department of State Services (DSS) over the unlawful detention of convener of #RevolutionNow and publisher of Sahara Reporters, Omoyele Sowore on Friday and the repression of freedom of speech.
The award was part of the 2019 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting holding Monday night in Lagos coinciding with the World Anti-Corruption Day.