Prominent Nigerian journalists have decried the dearth of investigative journalism by practising journalists in Nigeria as a way of correcting societal ills.
Some of these professionals including the Editor-In-Chief of Premium Times, Nigeria, Dapo Olorunyomi; Editor (Sunday) of Daily Trust Newspapers Nigeria, Theophilus Abbah; a serving Nigerian Senator, Babafemi Ojudu; the Managing Director of the Independent Communications Network Limited, ICNL, publishers of TheNEWS and P.M.NEWS, Bayo Onanuga as well as the Executive Editor of TheNEWS, Kunle Ajibade, all agreed that journalists need to scale up the practice of thorough investigation of issues for publication.
Speaking at a training session for journalists with the TheNEWS/P.M. NEWS, Lagos Nigeria on Thursday, facilitated by the House-to-House Pro-Engage Series of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism in collaboration with th British Council, meant to create an investigative reporting desk in media houses, Abbah reminded participants that investigative journalists are made to see beyond what is conventionally acceptable.
Using illustrations and quoting authorities, he further reminded the trainees that journalism is supposed to serve national interest.
He warned that investigative journalism is not supposed to be used to run down anyone, but just to show that some things thought to be generally acceptable are truly not.
According to him, an investigative journalist digs beyond the surface of an issue to help readers understand such issue.
He warned that care must be taken by an investigative journalist to avoid legal issues.
He further advised journalists to ensure that they have the backing of their organisations and editors before going ahead with carrying out investigative reports.
In his short speech, Senator Ojudu said journalists are no longer interested in investigative reporting and blamed poor ability to discern what could be investigated as well as the influence of journalists’ associations as reasons for this..
Ajibade also reminded the journalists that they should be conscious of the fact that they are as good as their stories.
He advised that journalists use the right sources when writing their stories and that they must have passion for the job in order to succeed.
Speaking on the Investigative Journalism as Tool for Restoration, Mr. Olorunyomi noted that the importance of journalism is derived from treaty, statutes and case laws, adding that journalists must uphold the ethics of their profession at all times.