I am writing to express my interest in the 2020 Sigma Awards: Young Journalist category. I am a self-motivated and progress-driven Graduate Trainee Investigative Reporter with an extensive background in the media industry. With an excellent record of initiative and innovation, I have developed and executed data-driven investiagtive reports for my medium, BusinessDay.
Throughout the course of my journalism career, I have honed my writing and data-driven storytelling abilities. I am an astute energetic reporter with burning passion for data and investigative journalism. I am capable of prioritizing and managing complex projects with proficiency.
As a former reporter for reputable media organizations in Nigeria, I have produced a reasonable number of data-driven news stories, features and investigative reports.
I strongly believe that teling good, data-driven stories could hold government accountable and the piece I am submitting for this award is a typical example of such story.
I’m looking forward to your response and thank you for your consideration.
Description of portfolio:
UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION: Sokoto’s Ghost Teachers, Corrupt School Principals Stealing FG’s N-Power Funds
This entry is a data-driven investigative reports that exposes how ‘ghost teachers’ scattered all over Sokoto — a north-western state in Nigeria –are operating in cahoots with principals and headmasters of disadvantaged schools to steal the Federal Government’s empowerment funds in the state.
N-Power was conceived by the government as a youth empowerment scheme aimed at fostering productivity through skill development and valuable knowledge sharing and acquisition for economic growth and social development. In 2016, the N-Power was introduced as part of the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP).
Although NSIP has five components – N-Power Teach, N-Tax, N-Health, N-Agro and N-Build – the N-Power Teach seems to be most popular because a large number of Nigerian youths have shown interests in it. The scheme was designed to support regular elementary school teachers in educating young minds. Thus, the Federal Government pays the programme’s volunteers a monthly stipend of N30,000 and gives them tablet computers. However, shoddiness, ghost working and other forms of official malfeasance continue to blight the N-Power Teach scheme in schools across the country. Public schools in Sokoto State are no exemption.
Ghost working and payroll corruption are a trend in Nigeria’s public service system and the perpetrators do not think of repentance – unless they are caught with their hands in the cookie jar.
However, after publication, the Federal Government sacked all ghost teachers exposed in the story and launced further official investigation on other racketeers in the system.