Ifedayo Ogunyemi

Entry type: Portfolio

Country/area: Nigeria

Publishing organisation: Nigerian Tribune

Organisation size: Big

Cover letter:

As a journalist, fact checker and data journalism enthusiast with working experience dating back to 2014, my interest in the media was spiked by the knowledge and journalism resources that have equipped and helped me join others to change the society using the media to report on the various issues that affect the lives of people.

My first exposure to journalism took place when as a young boy my father would pass on his favourite sports newspapers for me to read whenever he was done reading them daily. It also became a ritual for all members of the family to watch news programmes at that time. These actions inadvertently influenced my interests in journalism, how things work and how to solve the sector’s problems, and my decision to become a newspaper journalist, my first biggest decision of my life.

As a result of this, I developed a deep interest in the media space and how it is being run. I prepared myself by working diligently as a campus journalist where I had the privilege to oversee and edit several campus publications and equally served as editor, vice president and president of my institution’s only press outfit whose job is to provide other students and members of the campus community with adequate and up-to-date information about academic events and happenings during my stay on campus. This and many others culminated in the award of the best campus press outfit in Nigeria the association received in 2018.

At present, I am a Senior Reporter with the oldest surviving newspaper in Nigeria, Nigerian Tribune where I create a variety of news content for immediate and scheduled publication for the consumption of a global audience both online and offline. This position offered me a great opportunity to carry out reporting projects for local and international organisations as part of efforts to shift perception towards a global pandemic and re-awaken Nigerian citizens’ attention to areas where corruption breeds among other social vices among others.

Despite my deep interests in print journalism, I carried out a data-based reporting project in 2020 which involved radio programme production with support from UK-based Internews to educate people about COVID-19 in the rural part of Oyo State, Nigeria while dispelling fake news that arose as a result of and during the pandemic.

The duties I completed during a global fellowship with the Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) in 2022 revolved around training and mentoring 15 campus journalists to expand and spread solutions journalism in West Africa.

As part of my drive to engage young persons like me, I equally mentored and supervised 20 campus journalists on the impact of environmental crimes in local communities during a project funded by the Environmental Reporting Collective (ERC). These are part of the many data-based projects I have carried out to support and help sharpen the focus of the media space in Nigeria.

I equally participated in a fact-checking fellowship during the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria; an agriculture-focused fellowship programme where I reported about challenges facing smallholder farmers in Oyo State and how they went on teaching each other about solutions that can improve farm yields and food security for the country as well as a data journalism fellowship focusing on deep-seated issues where I reported about the discrepancies in the database of the nation’s digital identity scheme and the poor welfare of journalists during the pandemic.

While carrying out these projects and coupled with my interactions with people and sources on the ground, I was fascinated by how journalism can help change the lives of many people – one at a time.

Description of portfolio:

Nigeria has continued to be plagued by insecurity and it didn’t come off as a big surprise that a 2021 report by the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED), a disaggregated data collection, analysis, and crisis mapping project on political violence and protest around the world, reported that abduction/forced disappearance events in Nigeria “increased dramatically in 2020,” while noting that banditry and kidnapping in Nigeria increased in 2020 by more than a 100% of the 2019 figures.
The report and many other similar ones prompted the Federal Government to devise means to arrest the development by ordering the linkage of all Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) cards with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) database. It added that the synchronisation will help the government identify crooks and provide a digital framework for improving security and strengthening the economy
The federal government thereafter on December 15, 2020, ordered the linkage of valid National Identification Numbers (NIN) to every SIM card registered in the country within two weeks and threatened the disconnection of unlinked SIMs.
In fear of disconnection, Nigerians, including 25 million estimated to have at least one disability, besieged the enrolment centres and yet still experience sharp practices, extortion, neglect, prolonged waiting time and inhumane treatment etc. that characterise NIN enrolment at the NIMC centres nationwide.
During this period, their experiences were way worse than others because most of the public places where the enrolment centres are located are not disability-friendly.
It should be noted that abled-bodied Nigerians and most PWDs underwent the same process of enrolment in contradiction to the provisions of the Disabilities Act which caters for the right of access to public premises through the use of accessibility aids in public buildings. Most of the enrollment centres do not have these aids that help persons with disabilities. My report documented the experiences and lamentation of some PWDs who had to rely on unknown persons at the centre to fill out the enrollment forms, a development that is prone to errors.
To document experiences of PWDs discriminated by design, l travelled around the six South-Western states of Nigeria – Lagos, Ogun, Oyo, Osun, Ondo and Ekiti – to see first-hand, how they register for the important national government-issued IDs. This immersive storytelling and data-based report took into account the challenges of PWDs while accessing the enrolment centers spread across the states.
While analysing the data on NIN enrollment for my first report, I realised there was a discrepancy as high as 7 million records in the numbers on the NIMC database. This prompted my second report which x-rayed the discrepancies in the periodic updates of the digital identity database commission. The analysis of the agency’s data and subsequent findings did not go down well with the commission as it launched a personal and verbal attack on my person and my medium. This they did without denying or confirming my findings which was based on their periodic data release on NIN enrollment.
In my third instalment of reports on NIMC, I took a look at how feasible it was for the agency to complete and meet its target of enrolling all Nigerians as envisioned at inception or the 148 million Nigerians target stated as part of a $430 million World Bank loan facility secured under the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (DI4D) project by June 2024.

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