KIKI MORDI: An Icon Of Exemplary Investigative Journalism

KIKI MORDI: An Icon Of Exemplary Investigative Journalism

Kiki Mordi was born Nkiru Mordi on 12th August, 1991, in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. She is a Nigerian investigative journalist, media personality, filmmaker and writer. In 2016, she won the award of Outstanding Radio Program Presenter (South-South) at the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards.

She was admitted into the University of Benin, but would later drop out as a result of sexual harassment from a particular lecturer which she could not cope with.

KIKI MORDI: JOURNALISTIC CAREER AND RISE TO FAME

In 2015, Kiki Mordi was nominated for The Most Promising Young Presenter (TV/Radio) at the Nigerian Broadcasters Merit Awards. She would later win at the same award the following year in 2016 as she won the award of Outstanding Radio Program Presenter (South-South) category.

She started an online petition to end police extortion and exploitation in 2017, after an incident at their home in which some Nigerian policemen broke in and accused her and her boyfriend of being cultists.  Kiki Mordi received another nomination for The Future Awards Africa in the Prize for Journalism category.

Kiki Mordi pictured holding one of her journalistic awards.

As a documentary filmmaker, Kiki Mordi produced a documentary film titled Life at the Bay in Lagos, Nigeria, in 2019. The film was an exposition on the story of the inhabitants of Tarkwa Bay and the survival and struggles of the women living there.

On 17 May 2019, the documentary film, which was directed by Nora Awolowo, was selected by Real Time International Film Festival. It was also selected to show at the 2019 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) on 6th October 2019.

The one project that really shot Kiki Mordi into the general spotlight was the 2019 Sex for Grades documentary released on 7 October 2019, by Mordi and her team at the BBC Africa Eye. It was a 13-minute documentary exposing sexual harassment of students by lecturers at the University of Lagos and University of Ghana

Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu of University of Lagos, Dr. Ransford Gyampo and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor of University of Ghana were the lecturers implicated in a viral video that came with the exposé. The former is a senior lecturer at the Faculty of Arts, University of Lagos and a head pastor of Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria.

On the other hand of the documentary, Dr. Ransford Gyampo is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana and Dr. Paul Kwame Butakor is a lecturer at the College of Education in the University of Ghana. Kiki Mord, played the role of a 17-year-old admission seeker in the video, and by her accounts, the investigation took nine months to complete.

After the exposé, Dr. Ransford Gyampo of the University of Ghana threatened to sue the BBC, and in Nigeria, the University of Lagos suspended Dr. Boniface Igbeneghu while Foursquare Gospel Church asked him to step down from the pulpit. A secret location, commonly referred to as the “Cold Room” where lecturers sexually harass students was shut down by the University of Lagos.

The documentary video went viral and sparked an online media frenzy for weeks. Kiki Mordi’s effort in the project was praised by Nigerian musicians, Adekunle Gold and wife Simi. The documentary also resulted in a former vice president of Nigeria, Atiku Abubakar and a former senate president of Nigeria, Bukola Saraki, calling on the Nigerian government to take immediate action against sexual harassment in Nigerian universities.

Kiki Mordi revealed in an interview with Sahara Reporters, that she has received subtle threats since concluding the investigation and releasing the Sex For Grades documentary.

On 8th October 2019, a day after the release of the first 13-minute video, Kiki Mordi and her team at the BBC Africa Eye released a full hour long documentary that featured more lecturers that are guilty of sexually harassing students and led to the suspension of Dr Samuel Oladipo, a lecturer at the Department of Economics, University of Lagos.

As a result of the wide reaching influence of the documentary on the public, and several reactions thereto, the Nigerian senate heeded the call of Nigerians and re-introduced the anti-sexual harassment bill and it was read on the floor of the senate. The anti-sexual harassment bill was later passed by the Nigerian Senate on 9th July, 2020, proposing up to 14 years jail term for offenders.

Kiki Mordi continues her work as a journalist, filmmaker, and social activist. She was awarded the MTV EMA Generation Change Award in 2020 for her contribution to and participation in the Sex For Grades documentary, among other things.

By Oluwamayowa Akinyemi

Oluwamayowa Akinyemi

Oluwamayowa Akinyemi is a digital and web content developer with experience in web content development and management as well as research and writing. He is an avid reader of random subject matters and a sucker for movies and video games. He is also passionate about youth empowerment and is a global affairs analyst and enthusiast.

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