Fraudulent Journalist Essay Competition Raises Integrity Questions For SEC Nigeria

By Justice Justin

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Nigeria has created another loophole which calls for questions following latest revelations that the Commission "has not redeemed" any of the monetary and training pledges for the winners that emerged in its over two years essay competition for journalists.

The SEC Nigeria had respectively in 2012 and 2013 sponsored lavish dinners in Transcorp Hilton, Abuja where it announced to the world that it is making a big impact on educating Nigerians on capital market issues, with these essays written by journalists.

The winners cut across various Nigerian newspapers, including The Nation, Leadership, THISDAY, BusinessDay and Business Hallmark. Shortchanged are the six Journalists who won bronze, silver and gold successively in the 2012 and 2013 editions of the essay competition. The main anchor of this programme is one Mr Obi Adindu, the media adviser to Aruma Oteh, DG, SEC Nigeria.

Attached rewards for the much publicized easy competition for Nigerian journalists include -one to two weeks trainings locally and abroad for each category of winners, and cash reward of $5,000 to $10,000 depending on the class of winners.

At the time of filing this report, efforts to contact the six Nigerian journalists who won the award proved abortive but those concerned staff within the SEC simply said "I can authoritatively confirm to you that none of these journalists has been rewarded in cash and trainings." "If you wish, I can give you their contact details for confirmation of this" the source said.

In 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission dreamed up a capital market essay competition for eligible journalists in Nigeria in a bid to launder its image following the scandals unearthed about its DG Arunma Oteh, (Otehgate) following the House of Representatives hearing on the activities of the apex market regulator.

The competition was open to practicing Nigeria journalists who are registered members of either the Nigeria Union of Journalist (NUJ) or the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE). Journalist reporting finance and the capital market in the print, broadcast and online media were also eligible to participate in the competition.

It is over two years since the competition started and there has been at least 6 (six) winners from 2012 and 2013 announced by the SEC for first, second, and third place.

The question to ask the SEC, is why they have engaged in deception, playing to the gallery and conducting a competition, following which winners emerge, but scandalously without shame refusing to honor such winners with prizes promised?

Nigerian journalists are some of the least paid and most exposed to danger from their jobs. It is therefore most disconcerting that an organisation such as the SEC, has become part of the problem to Nigerian journalists, while deceiving the public that it is doing the opposite.