12 journalists receive WSCIJ awards for excellence

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The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) has given awards to12 journalists for their excellent publications in investigative journalism and furtherance of the profession.

Ms Motunrayo Alaka, the Coordinator of WSCIJ, said in a statement on Monday that the Wole Soyinka Awards for Investigative Reporting highlighted dangers journalists contended with in the course of discharging their responsibilities.

Alaka said that the136 entries received for this year’s award were from six categories – Print, Radio, Television, Photography, Online and Editorial Cartoon.

Abdulaziz Abdulaziz’s ‘The Kemi Adeosun expose’, published on Premium Times, won the Online category.

Premium Times’ Kemi Busari emerged the runner-up with the piece – ‘Investigation: The appalling, risky state of Nigeria’s multi-billion Naira nuclear technology centre’.

Oladeinde Olawoyin, also of Premium Times, was commended for his two-part story – ‘Investigation: Inside Nigeria’s Drivers’ Licence Fraud and How Officials Dupe Applicants’.

Mojeed Alabi emerged the winner of the print category for his two-part story, ‘Exposed! Nigeria’s Deputy Speaker In 1.1bn Water Contract Scam’, published in the New Telegraph on May 24 and May 25th May.

Mojeed is a second-time winner, having won the award in 2016.

He was also the runner-up for the category in 2017.

The piece – ‘FG’s school feeding programme: The truths, half-truths and outright lies’, saw Chinwe Agbeze of BusinessDay emerged the runner-up in the category.

Chinwe was commended in the same category in 2017.

In the photo category, Kolawole Aliu, a 2017 runner-up, won with his photo – ‘The Menace of Lagos State Task Force on People’, published in the Leadership Newspaper.

As there was no runner-up for the category.

Elliot Ovadje of The Nigerian Tribune was commended for his work, ‘Slums around us’, published in Saturday Tribune.

In the television category, Sharon Ijasan of Television Continental clinched the first prize for her story – ‘Funding basic education in Nigeria’.

Azeezat Olaoluwa, also of Television Continental, was the runner-up with her story, ‘Failing health sector: Pregnant women seek cheaper alternative’.

The television category did not have any work that was commended.

Chinelo Ozoalor of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria in Enugu was the only journalist recognised for the radio category.

She won the category for her report – ‘NECO Paper Leak in Enugu’.

The judges did not find any entry suitable to win the editorial cartoon category.

Two journalists were commended for their editorial cartoons.

They are Cornelius Emenike of New Telegraph Newspaper for his editorial cartoon – ‘Allowances for Senators and governors’and Bennett Omeke for his editorial cartoon – ‘Corruption in NNPC’ published in the Punch Newspaper.

The winners, runners-up and the commended works got cash prizes of N200,000, N100,000 and N50,000, respectively in addition to a certificate of commendation.

The winners were also given plaques and will proceed on an all-expense-paid international study tour in 2019.

Mr Jiti Ogunye, the Board Secretary of WSCIJ, congratulated the category winners and the honorary award recipients for their feats.

He said that the award was being held annually on Dec. 9, the World Anti-Corruption Day and the eve of the Human Rights Day, to call attention to the significance of the media generally and investigative reporting in particular and attaining good governance, accountability and social justice.

For the honorary awards, John Momoh received the Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence for his over two-decade commitment to media excellence as evidenced by the success of Channels TV.

In his acceptance remark, Dr John Momoh, said that journalism practice in Nigeria was under attacks and commended the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism for the award.

Waziri Adio was conferred with the Anti-Corruption Defender Award for his consistent public stance against corruption evidenced by his efforts in championing transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s extractive sector.

Adio is the 10th recipient of the award.

Accepting the award, Adio said the struggle against corruption and those championing it could be seen as crazy.

He expressed delight in being in a company of people who blazed the anti-corruption path he is treading today.

He thanked his family for not making undue demands from him and his friends for supporting him.

Umaru Pate, the Chairman of 2018 Judges Board, applauded the finalists for the quality of their reports among the 136 other entries received across the six categories.

According to Pate, who is also a professor of Mass Communication, many of the entries depended on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and other government agencies for information rather than those conceived by the reporters themselves.

Abdulaziz Abdulaziz was announced as the 2018 WSCIJ-Nigerian Investigative Reporter of the year.

He dedicated the award to the team at Premium Times whose inputs made the story and the award to happen.

He commended the courage of Nigerians who asked for action on the report.

Iyanuoluwa Bolarinwa of BudgIT read a statement from the Coalition of WSCIJ, Civic Hive and Gavel to ‘Stop suspect parade’ by the Nigerian Police and other security agents.

It was in reaction to a video that went viral on the social media on the parade of a woman for allegedly impersonating the wife of the President, Mrs Aisha Buhari.

He urged editors not to cover parade of suspects, referring to the practice as barbaric, unnecessary and a violation of fundamental human rights.

Human Rights Lawyer, Mr Femi Falana, said the practice had already been pronounced illegal in four rulings in different Nigerian courts.

In his closing remarks, Dapo Olorunyomi, the WSCIJ Founder, said there was never a time in the history of journalism when it was under more attacks than today.

He called for funding support and media ownership of the programme to ensure its sustainability. (NAN)

– Dec. 10, 2018 @ 11:15 GMT |

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