The major tool used to fighting corruption and stabilize democracy in Nigeria is investigative and data-based journalism, the Vice Chancellor of Bayero University Kano (BUK), Prof. Muhammad Yahuza Bello declared on Thursday.
He charged journalists to embrace investigative and data driven journalism, describing it as the only weapon to fight corruption and promote democracy.
Prof. Yahuza who stated this during the opening ceremony of a two-day Experience Sharing Workshop on Investigative Journalism for Nigerian and Ghanaian journalists, lecturers and students of Mass Communication in Universities and Polytechnics held at BUK, said without investigative journalism, Nigeria’s nascent democracy will remain in jeopardy.
Represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academics), Prof Adamu Idris Sambo, he noted that BUK has spent millions of Naira to improve the Faculty of Communications so as to make it a world-class institution that can groom journalists that have the capacity to make serious impacts on the country’s democratic development.
“Today’s activity is part of a series of activities being implemented in the Faculty with the support of the MacArthur Foundation which has given us a grant to strengthen the teaching and research of investigative and data driven journalism to reduce the prevalence of corruption in the country.
“So far, with the Grant, we have established a new multi studio digital radio station, set up 150 computer laboratory, gave scholarship support to about 100 undergraduates and post-graduates female students as well as supported a number of knowledge enhancement activities.
“Most importantly, the Grant has helped Nigeria through Bayero University that led to the process to review and unbundle the national Mass Communication curricular,” he added.
According to him, the renewed curricular has been designed to change the face and process of communication studies in Nigeria to ensure that what is offered in Nigerian universities align with global Dynamics in Information Communication Technologies (ICT), as well as the changing realities in the country.
Prof. Yahuza further stated that good journalism based on credibility, ethics and data is critical to national development, pointing out that, ‘we know that quality investigative journalism is Central in winning the current war against corruption in the country.”
Also speaking, Prof. Umaru Pate who read the welcome address commended the lead presenter in the workshop, Anas Aremeyaw Anas for his doggedness in the promotion of undercover and investigative journalism.
According to him, notable examples of the tangible impacts of the Ghana-born Anas works has contributed to the jailing of corrupt leaders in Ghana and across Africa.
Prof. Pate noted that, “despite the danger he (Anas) and his team find themselves in, they continue to produce award-winning stories that change lives and change legislations, instutitions and departments.”
He urged journalists and students of journalism in Nigeria to learn from Anas and remain committed in the cause of using their profession to impact positively on the society.
In his presentation, Anas recalled his numerous encounters as an undercover journalist, but regretted that issues of poverty among journalists in Africa have seriously hampered their performances.
According to him, journalism is a hot kitchen which every professional should be ready to stay in, pointing out that Africa needs practical journalism that can expose corrupt leaders and correct the ills in the society.