Not fewer than forty journalists are currently undergoing three day training on corruption and investigative data reporting in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital.
The training is being organized by ActionAid Nigeria with support from UKAid has journalists drawn from Borno State which is one of the implementing states including other states in the northeast like Bauchi, Gombe and Yobe States.
Making his presentation, one of the lead facilitators of the training, Mr. Lekan Otufodunrin, a Media Career Trainer in his paper title, Research as a Basis for Good Reporting tasked journalists to, “overcome the challenges that are associated with the weak institutions in the system by beginning to report the weakness itself”.
Lekan emphasized that “journalists must be armed with the right information and data by using the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) to produce a good investigative report”.
He added, “You must have the relevant information to be able to come out with a good investigative story by engaging in a very thorough research of what you want to investigate and write about. Those facts must be undisputed and factual. That suggest that such facts must be verified and cross check because you must ask relevant questions concerning the objective of the person giving you an information.
Drawing from experience, Lekan challenged journalists to avoid self-censorship and engage in strong networking by sharing their stories that could amount to their organizational conflict of interests.
“You can share a story with your colleague that you feel you newspaper cannot use or publish,” Mr. Lekan advised.
Welcoming participants at the training, the Project Manager of Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C), Mr. Newton Otsemaye emphasized on the UN Convention Against Corruption which espouses the ills of corruption especially how it affect the poor and the vulnerable people in the society.
Quoting from the former UN Secretary General, Late Kofi Annan, “Corruption”, he says, “affects the poor disproportionately”.
Mr. Otsemaye regretted how our society celebrate and glorify people who have looted public funds, adding that, “the people need to be sensitized on the dangers of corruption and the journalists must be in the driver’s seat for the people to understand.