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ActionAid Nigeria Challenges Journalists on Corruption Reporting

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ActionAid Nigeria under the Strengthening Citizens Resistance Against Prevalence of Corruption (SCRAP-C), project has organised a three-day training on corruption reporting and storytelling for journalists.

With the theme: “Corruption Reporting: Investigative and Data Journalism,” the programme aimed to equip journalists with needed skills to investigate and report corruption issues.

The South-east leg of the training which is holding in Enugu, Enugu State draws participants from the media, non-government organizations, (NGOs) and civil society organizations, (CSOs).

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SCRAP-C, a five-year project of the UK Anti-Corruption in Nigeria Programme (ACORN), is designed to tackle corruption through the change of social norm and public attitude that support corruption.

A representative of ActionAid Nigeria, Newton Otsemaye told participants that corruption affects the social, political and economic life of the country.

According to him, it hinders development and prevents investment in public values.

To deal with the problem, Mr. Otsemaye who is the project manager for SCRAP-C, encouraged journalists to use the knowledge they gained at the training to report on some of the corruption issues in their immediate environment.

He told 247report’s that ActionAid has trained journalists in Lagos, Akwa Ibom and Enugu on corruption reporting, pledging to extend the training to journalists in the North.

He was excited that the expectations of the participants were met as many of them expressed readiness to take up issues identified by the facilitators.

“We should not allow suspected criminals or people who have been alleged to have stolen our commonwealth to design the narratives for us.

“Journalists should have the primary duties to change and direct the narratives in the right direction. We think journalists are key in helping us implement the decisions made there,” he added.

The Chief Facilitator for the training and Managing Editor, Next Edition Newspaper, Ibanga Isine, said the programme would help participants to discover some unreported stories in their environment.

Mr. Isine, who is also a visiting journalism lecturer with the American University of Nigeria (AUN), Yola, encouraged journalists in the country to speak truth to power and report issues that affect the well-being of the people.

“There are so many untold stories in our communities and nobody will tell them except journalists. We have the power to remove a government and to bring public officers to account for their deeds,” Mr. Isine said.

“But to do this, journalists must do away with every trapping of corruption and unprofessional conduct. A corrupt journalist cannot confront a corrupt politician and expose his evil deeds.

“It takes journalists with more than a modicum of integrity to resist gratification.

“We must apply the knowledge we gain from this training to change our stories and spotlight some of the issues that society are taking for granted,” he said.

Some participants who spoke to our correspondent, Stella Egwu and Jacinta Udeinya thanked ActionAid for building their capacity and pledged to employ all they have learnt at the training to better the Nigerian society.

“It has widened my knowledge on how to handle information and issues of corruption. Most of all it has shown that the fight against corruption begins with me,” Mrs.Jacinta said.

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