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31.12.2022 Featured Disturbing Media and CSO Revelations Ignored by Nigerian Authorities in 2022

Published 31st Dec, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

Knowledge is power and information is liberation, but this isn’t so all of the time in Nigeria. Information could be a crime, and knowledge an offense. 

2022 journalism has produced some mind-blowing reports on malfeasance and crime which have yet to receive appropriate reactions from the authorities in public and private offices. Rather than condemn or pledge to address wrongdoings and shortcomings, Nigerian authorities have resorted to intimidating the media and dismissing brilliant reportage on several occasions. 

FIJ highlights some major reports which were snubbed or received attacks from government and the authorities in 2022. 

READ ALSO: 10 Times Policemen Killed Nigerians in 2022 — And How Their Bosses Reacted

BANDIT WARLORDS IN ZAMFARA |BBC Africa

On July 25, BBC Africa released a documentary about bandit leaders and their activities in Zamfara State. 

The Nigerian public had referred to these criminals as bandits, but they are perpetrators of terrorism. Nigeria’s ultra-violent bandits have raided villages, killed numerous citizens and abducted scores of schoolchildren. 

The BBC documentary published a couple of interviews with the so-called bandit leaders. 

Reaction to the documentary was mixed. Many faulted the government for failing to apprehend named terrorists who journalists could even interview. 

The federal government reacted with a sanction for the BBC and other media houses that had previously published closeups on bandits. 

“Let me assure you. They will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria,” Lai Mohammed, Nigeria’s Minister for Information and Culture, said.

Replies from Nigerians blamed the government for incompetence. Terrorists such as Bello Turji had their faces and names matched, but the authorities failed to declare him wanted or treat him as a criminal.

While the government was quick to fault the BBC report for showing the faces of the bandits, months after the report, Bello Turji continues to walk as a free man after admitting that he had lost count of how many people he had killed as a bandit warlord.

EDUCATION & SUBEB CORRUPTION IN KANO |FIJ 

FIJ published “How SUBEB Is Building Imaginary Schools in Kano, Crippling Education” on October 11. This investigative report showed how primary and secondary education suffered greatly from maladministration and corruption. 

This report sought and found how failed contracts and poor infrastructure continue to harm the education sector in Kano. 

FIJ found dilapidated and abandoned buildings in Kano schools. 

The State Universal Basic Education Board (SUBEB) in Kano State was also found to be corrupt. 

“SUBEB failed to award any contracts to improve infrastructure in the state’s schools and also failed to recruit teachers to improve the schools,” the report reads in part.

When FIJ contacted SUBEB, the board failed to respect the Freedom of Information Act (FoI) and kept mum over FIJ’s request for comments on its work in Kano State. 

Kano State Ministry of Education also ignored calls and emails with regards to this report.

READ ALSO: FIJ @ 1: Over 1,800 Pulsating Stories in One Year. Here Are 10 of the Biggest

NIGERIAN ARMY INFANTICIDE |Reuters Africa

December 2022 saw a very shocking report from Reuters Africa about the Nigerian Army’s unlawful termination of lives for years. 

According to the Reuters report, the Nigerian Army oversaw about 10,000 forced abortions for former captives who had been impregnated by Boko Haram terrorists. 

The Nigerian Defence Headquarters admitted that Reuters sent the report to it for a response before publishing the report, yet it said the report was false.

Lucky Irabor, Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, dismissed the report and stated that he wouldn’t address it.

“I don’t think I should waste my energy in such things,” Irabor said.

TRILLIONS IN ECOLOGICAL FUNDS UNACCOUNTED FOR

|SERAP

The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) wrote a letter to Muhammadu Buhari, Nigeria’s president, to direct government officials to “thoroughly investigate the spending of Ecological Fund by governments at all levels” in October.

After the devastating 2022 floods took hold of several Nigerian states, SERAP drew attention to the misappropriation of ecological funds for over two decades. These ecological funds were set aside to build projects that would mitigate natural disasters such as the 2012 and 2022 floods. The funds on record are several hundreds of billions of naira.

SERAP did not receive a response, and this warranted filing a lawsuit against Buhari.

The lawsuit is focused on Buhari’s failure to probe the spending of trillions in ecological funds.

READ ALSO: Over 60 ‘Me Too’ Stories Trail Fisayo Soyombo’s Prophets of Their Pockets Series

FALSE PROPHETS AT CCC |FIJ 

The authorities in Nigeria are not limited to the government and, like public officials, private officials are responsible for the operation of private institutions. 

FIJ published Prophets of Their Pockets, a series of seven investigative reports on the activities of charlatans in Nigerian churches and mosques. 

Tosho Oshoffa, the head of Celestial Church of Christ’s International Headquarters, dismissed the first part of the series which exposed fake prophets in the church he oversees. 

A prophet had told lies in the place of prophecy and instructed the investigative reporter to buy food for about 100 prophets in the church. The prophet failed to recognise the journalist despite claiming to see visions about his future. 

Instead of calling his church’s false prophets to order, Oshoffa faulted the report and claimed that the journalist would receive punishment for the work he had done. 

“Believe me, wherever you are, my dear brother or my dear son, start asking for forgiveness of sin. Nobody does that in the house of God, much less Cele, and goes scot-free,” Oshoffa said while addressing his church members.

“We call this place Celestial Church and not only that, international headquarters church, Ketu. Believe me, unless you ask for forgiveness, your parents should start praying for you, because you have sinned against the Holy Spirit and you have sinned against a prophet of God.”

Published 31st Dec, 2022

By Joseph Adeiye

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