The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) has postponed its presentation of an integrity award to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in protest of the rearrest and manhandling of Omoyele Sowore, the convener of the #RevolutionNow movement.
The centre announced the postponement of the award presentation in a statement issued by Motunrayo Alaka, its Executive Director, on Monday.
According to the WSCIJ, bestowing Osinbajo with the award will be inappropriate at this period taking into consideration the circumstances surrounding Sowore’s rearrest as well as endorsing the “repression of the freedom of speech” against the detained publisher of Sahara Reporters.
The centre stated that the vice president, whom it had earlier hailed for promoting integrity in the civil society and business in Nigeria”, had agreed with its decision to shelve the award presentation.
The statement read: “The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism has postponed the presentation of award to the Nigerian Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo. The postponement was decided on, to align with protests against the repression of freedom of speech in recent times especially the incident between the Department of State Security (DSS) and Omoleye Sowore, Publisher of Sahara Reporters, on Friday 6 December. The Vice President himself shares this awareness and the inappropriateness of the award at this point.
“The award presentation programme will hold as scheduled on Monday, 9th December 2019 by 6pm. 13 journalists from print, online, television, radio, photo, and editorial cartoon categories will be celebrated. Veteran photojournalist, Sunmi Smart-Cole and Amnesty International Nigeria will also be presented honorary awards of the Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence and the Anti-Corruption Defender Award (Human Rights Specialty) respectively.
“The WSCIJ holds the award presentation event on December 9, the World Anti-Corruption Day and eve of the World Human Rights Day to highlight the importance of investigative reporting as a tool for accountability, good governance and social justice in a democracy. The award event is free to attend for members of the general public.”
Sowore was rearrested by DSS operatives on Friday after a scuffle between its officials and the #RevolutionNow convener’s supporters in courtroom seven of the Federal High Court, Abuja.