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20.01.2023 Featured FIJ At Two: A Message From Our Editor-in-Chief

Published 20th Jan, 2023

By 'Fisayo Soyombo

Dear Reader,

It is exactly two years since you first read the Foundation for Investigative Journalism (FIJ) and Social Justice. Time flies, but it has been 730 days of intense, sometimes gruelling, public-interest work.

From time to time in those two years, we have internally referenced the one-minute video with which we announced ourselves to you. We made numerous promises: journalism beyond press releases; truth beyond officialdom; unbiased and impartial reporting; journalism driven by personal integrity and faith in the profession.

We said we would be unmoved by pecuniary interests, that we would be the people’s advocate, the voice of anyone on the right side of the law. We said social justice was our obsession, the truth our watchword, and true journalism our calling. We promised: no half-truths, no propaganda. We have continued abiding by those promises.

We have never doubted that there is a lot more we could have done, but we know as well we have outdone our first year. For instance, last year, we listed 59 of our stories as having been impactful in that they directly or secondarily led to change. This year, we have had such a trouble counting that we have instead broken our impact stories into groups: how much money we recovered for people at no cost; how many scammers we’ve exposed; how many cases of poor service deliveries we have resolved; how many people we freed from the clutches of greedy or brutal policemen.

Fund recovery, for example; in our first year, funds recovered by FIJ while covering money-related injustice totalled N16,668,674. However, in our second year — January 20, 2022 to January 20, 2023 — the figure rose to nearly double the first year’s: N30,292,361. What’s more? All recoveries were done without receiving a kobo from the beneficiaries.

In addition to the recoveries, we have covered some riveting stories, as you will find here.

All these we have done while operating on a shoestring budget that has tested our integrity to the limits — tests from which we have emerged unscathed, thanks to our first funders who backed us when this was all an idea on paper (more on these exemplary humans in the future), our very supportive board members and our committed staff.

In a world where the truth is abhorred, you can imagine that the work we do comes with significant risk. The threats, both subtle and barefaced, continue to come, but we are more prepared for them today than we were this time last year.

Next year, the plan is to do even more. Our first 12 months was our ‘Year of Stabilisation’. We tagged the second our ‘Year of Consolidation’. The next is our ‘Year of Acceleration’ — everything we have done so far, we will intensify. We’ll rev up our social-justice reporting, no doubt, but there will be more investigative reporting in the coming year. You, our reader, know us already as Nigeria’s only social-justice newspaper, able to publish any story to defend the masses, regardless of whose ox is gored. We will not stop being this.

Published 20th Jan, 2023

By 'Fisayo Soyombo

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