Nigeria: Winners Emerge in Wole Soyinka Investigative Journalism Awards

10 December 2019

Ibanga Isine, a journalist with the Next Edition newspaper, has won the 2019 Nigerian Investigative Journalist of the Year Award given by the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).

Mr Isine also emerged winner for the online category, with his report published in April 2019 on "How bribe-taking security operatives gang-force Nigerians to pay dearly for food."

Thirteen journalists received awards and commendations at the 2019 edition.

While speaking at the award presentation on Monday, Umaru Pate, the chairman of the 2019 judges board, said selecting the finalists was a rigorous task as the centre received many entries from different parts of Nigeria.

A total number of 194 entries were received, while 13 journalists were shortlisted for the award and commendation in different categories.

Since its start in 2005, the award has produced 91 finalists, 48 laureates, nine investigative journalists of the year and 20 recipients of honourary awards.

Mr Pate said the quality and quantity of the 2019 entries is an indication that journalists in Nigeria are putting a lot of efforts into Investigative Reporting.

Motunrayo Alaka, the Executive Director of WSCIJ, said the works Nigerian journalists do despite the pressure and threats they face is commendable.

"This year in particular has been a sad one for journalism and freedom of speech in Nigeria with the harassment of the media on different occasions by the government."

The Wole Soyinka Centre also gave honourary awards to Sunmi Smart-Cole and Amnesty International Nigeria.

Mr Smart-Cole received a Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence, while Amnesty International Nigeria was honoured with the Anti-Corruption Defender Award (Human Rights Specialty).

Yemi Osinbajo, Nigeria's Vice President, who was also shortlisted for a honourary award, had his award presentation postponed due to issues sorrounding the rearrest of Omoyele Sowore, the Sahara Reporters Publisher on Friday.

Mr Osinbajo was to be presented the Integrity specialty of the Anti-Corruption Defender Award as a result of his works while at the Lagos State Judiciary.

Below are the 2019 award winners from different categories:

Photo Category

Ayodele Adeniran - Guardian Photojournalist Award commending him for his five-picture on how pupils in Lagos lament pains and long trek in search of Knowledge.

Saheed Olugbon - Punch Newspaper Photojournalist (Award commending him for his picture story on retirees in Nigeria, their struggles and poor financial state)

Odutayo Odusanya - Punch Newspaper (Runner up)

Online Category Damilola Banjo - Sahara Reporters (Award commending her work on "Blood thirsty demons of Zamfara")

Chikezie Omeje - International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) ( 1st Runner up)

Isine Ibanga - The Next Edition Newspaper (Winner, online category)

Editorial Cartoon Category

Albert Ohams - The Sun Newspaper Cartoon Editor (Award commending his cartoon on sitting allowance for Senators)

Radio Category

Mary Abayomi Fatile - FRCN (Award commending her work on the alleged extra-judicial killing of Basirat Akinmushire

Television Category

Bukola Samuel Wemimo - TVC (Award for commended work on Depression and Suicide in Nigeria)

Sharon Ijasan - (Runner up- Television Category)

Print Category

Oladimeji Ramon - Punch (Award for commended work)

Chinwe Agbeze - The Sun (Runner up)

Samson Folarin - Punch (Winner)

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