Reporter Taiwo Adebulu’s story on marriage registry corruption in Nigeria has had massive impact less than a week after publication. The story, which highlighted the sabotage of an electronic bookings portal by officials intent on extorting loving couples and cashing in bribes at the Ikoyi marriage registry, caused an avalanche of responses from the Nigerian public, who shared online their experiences of official bribery demands at the same registry. Adebulu then turned the public input into another story, which can be read here.
But the best part was still to come. Two days after the publication of the shared public responses, Adebulu’s investigative site The Cable sent a reporter to the Ikoyi registry to check on the situation. ‘He and others were turned back at the gates (with the message) that the registry no longer does physical registration. They were referred to the online portal. In other words, applicants can now register for marriage certificates on the portal from the comfort of their homes, pay government approved fees and avoid physical contacts with the registry officials’. Adebulu’s story further observes that ‘the usual loitering of people around the premises has stopped’ and that ‘applicants were referred to the online portal and told to leave the facility immediately.’
The strong impact of Adebulu’s story was met with congratulations both from the public and the media fraternity, including ZAM colleagues. ‘We are sometimes asked what all this exposure of corruption in African countries is good for’, commented ZAM Editor-in-Chief Bart Luirink. ‘Well, here is the answer. Of course one article doesn’t solve all corruption immediately, but it shows what investigative journalism can do’.