The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) has postponed the presentation of an Integrity Award to the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo amidst protests over the tightening of space for freedom of expression in the country.
Osinbajo was slated to be presented with the award as part of the 2019 Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting holding on Monday night in Lagos, which coincides with the World Anti-Corruption Day.
The plan to honour Osinbajo however generated protests as some Nigerians took to social media querying the timing of the award.
However, Executive Director/CEO of the Centre, Motunrayo Alaka, in a statement posted on the organization’s Twitter page @WSoyinkaCentre at 2:32 am on Monday announced the postponement of the award to Osinbajo.
— Wole Soyinka Centre (@WSoyinkaCentre) December 9, 2019
She said the postponement was in response to the protest against what she called, “the repression of freedom of speech” by the present administration, citing the case of the convener of #RevolutionNow Movement and Sahara Reporters’ Publisher, Omoyele Sowore.
She wrote: “The postponement was decided on, to align with protests against the repression of #FreedomOfSpeech in recent times, especially the incidence between the Department of State Security (DSS) and @YeleSowore, Publisher of @SaharaReporters, on Friday 6 December.
“The Vice President @ProfOsinbajo himself shares this awareness and the inappropriateness of the award at this point.”
Meanwhile, Osinbajo is in Abu Dhabi United Arab Emirates to deliver a speech at the 6th Assembly of the Forum for promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.
He already delivered a rousing speech on the role of religion in promoting tolerance.