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Soyombo emerges second prize winner at Fetisov Awards with ICIR/Cable-funded story


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FISAYO Soyombo, an investigative journalist and former editor of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (The ICIR), on Wednesday, emerged the second prize winner in the Outstanding Investigative Reporting category of the 2020 Fetisov Journalism Awards (FJA).

Soyombo’s undercover investigation on Nigeria’s criminal justice system was funded by The ICIR and TheCable. He spent two weeks in detention in an attempt to track corruption in the nation’s criminal justice system.

To experience the corruption of the justice system first-hand, he adopted the pseudonym, Ojo Olajumoke, pretending to be involved in a crime which prompted his arrest and subsequent detention in a police custody. He was subsequently arraigned in court and eventually remanded in prison.

Read here: UNDERCOVER: Bribery, Bail For Sale… Lagos Police Station Where Innocent Civilians Are Jailed And Criminals Are Recycled (1)

After publication  of the story, interior minister, Rauf Aregbesola, described the investigation as a ‘fantastic job’ and condemned the dehumanisation of prison inmates. The minister later announced an official investigation by the Nigerian authorities.

Read also: UNDERCOVER: Drug Abuse, Sodomy, Bribery, Pimping… The Cash- And-Carry Operations Of Ikoyi Prisons 2

Another ICIR-funded investigation by Kelechi Iruoma and Ruth Olurounbi, which focused on on oil spillage/ environmental pollution in the Niger Delta, was shortlisted under the ‘Excellence in Environmental Journalism’ category, but it did not make the winners’ list.

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Nigeria’s Philip Obaji  was  named the third prize winner in the Outstanding Contribution to Peace category for his story which exposed a human trafficking ring on Facebook that specialises on selling Cameroonian child refugees.

According to the organisers, 35 entries from 21 countries were shortlisted and eleven winners were selected for the four categories. However, only two winners that met the judges’  criteria were announced in the Outstanding Investigative Reporting category this year.

The grand prize winner will cart home 104,005 dollars, while the second and third prize winners in each category will receive 20,801 dollars and 10,400 dollars respectively.

The Fetisov Journalism Awards aims to promote universal human values such as honesty, justice, courage and nobility through the example of outstanding journalists from all over the world as their dedicated service and commitment contribute to changing the world for the better.

Soyombo and Obaji join the list of Nigerian winners of the Fetisov Journalism Awards which include Isaac Anyaogu of Businessday who won the first prize in the 2019 Excellence in Environmental Journalism and Amos Abba of The ICIR who finished third in the same category for his report on Nestle Nigeria’s contamination of the water supply of its host community in Manderegi, Abuja.

Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.

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