The investigation that just gave Fisayo Soyombo, a Nigerian investigative journalist and founder of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) the 2020 Fetisov Journalism Awards for outstanding investigative reporting, saw him spending two weeks incarcerated in a prison and police cell for two weeks.
Soyombo’s three-part undercover investigation on Nigeria’s criminal justice system was found worthy of a place in the 12 winning entries announced on Wednesday from a total of 283 entries across 77 countries.
Soyombo took the second prize in the outstanding investigative reporting category.
Award winning report
Soyombo’s story was aimed at interogating the criminal justice system in Nigeria. What role corruption plays and how, if true , the system is skewed against the poor in the country.
It took 10 months to perfect his disguise, adopt a pseudonym, Ojo Olajumoke, feign an offense, get arrested by the police, taken to court and ended up in a prison cell.
When his cover was blown while in prison, it took the efforts of high and powerful friends to get him out of the prison and keep him safe from the unfriendly and vindictive police force.
His investigation has led to a myriad of promises of reform by officials of the Muhammadu Buhari administration but what has really changed is the name of Nigeria’s prison to Correctional Center.
Soyombo news not the only nigerian to shine at the awards, Philip Obaji of Sahara Reporters came third in the same category while Kelexhi Iruoma and Ruth Olurombi’s joint entry on the oil spill in the Niger Delta also got honorable mentions.
“The competitive entries were assessed against a set of criteria such as accuracy of information, independence, impartiality and fairness, humanity, transparency, promotion of ethical principles, positive impact on the political, economic or social situation in a particular area, country or globally,” the FJA said.