We are Nigerian Investigative Journalists of The Year 2013!

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December 10, 2013 by ragbroko

Ini Ekott receives our award from Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka

Ini Ekott receives our award from Nobel Laureate Wole Soyinka
Photo: Premium Times

It is with great thanks I announce that this story, which grew out of this blog, has won Ini Ekott and I two awards at last night’s 8th Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting.

How Nigeria’s embassies spend million on generators they don’t need won in the Online category and overall in the awards. Premium Times, which published the story has an article on the awards ceremony here.

In particular I am grateful to the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism and the British High Commission in Nigeria for organising and sponsoring these awards respectively, a gesture which makes it possible for investigative stories to gain greater prominence and therefore generate increased awareness and impact on society.

Update on the story

So Ini and I worked on budget data, which showed that despite N523m for power, Nigeria’s foreign missions added N117m for generators. All raw data was scraped from BudgIT.

We have since gone further to write authorities in many countries to see if generators and fuel are compulsory.

This was necessary after Habib Habu, Consul General at Nigeria’s New York embassy wrote to say NY fire dept/State laws demanded it.

Mr Habu said: “just because we tend to overlook Nigeria’s regulations on installation of standby generators doesn’t mean OTHER COUNTRIES do not take them seriously.”

So we wrote to the embassies first. A few replied.

Greece said: “The Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations does not allow hosting countries to impose any measure or action having to do with everyday issues of embassies. It’s up to the embassies themselves to decide what measures they see fit to take.”

The UK, where Nigeria approved the highest bugdet of N20.4m for power AND N18.3m for running generators also responded.

They said: “Foreign Embassies, High Commissions and Consulates in the UK operate according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations…They make their own back-up power supply arrangements and the UK Government IS NOT INVOLVED IN THESE IN ANY WAY.”

All emphasis is mine.

Ini and I also wrote German and American authorities, especially as Mr Habu had said New York insisted on generators. No replies.

Finally in June we wrote Mr Habu of Nigeria’s US diplomatic post to clarify& give details of spends on generators. He is YET TO REPLY.

Please whoever can persuade Mr Habib Habu to reply should help us do so.

Thank you.

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