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Wole Soyinka Centre celebrates excellence in journalism



Journalists tasked to fight for sustenance of democracy

In its effort to acknowledge best practices in investigative journalism and attention to its significance for attaining good governance, social justice and accountability, the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) has awarded journalists for excellence in various field of investigative reporting.

The 2019 WSCIJ awards, which was the 14th edition, held in Lagos last week. The big winner of the night was Isine Ibang of The Next Edition newspaper for clinching both the Investigative Reporter of the Year and the Investigative Story of the Year for his reports on “How to Bribe Taking Security Operatives Gangs Force Nigerians To Pay Dearly for Food.”

Ibang expressed gratitude, saying he was happy all the hard work, sleepless nights, money, energy and time he put into getting the facts of the story were worthwhile. The runners up in the online category are Damilola Banjo of SaharaReporters and Chikezie Omeje of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR).


Odutayo Odusanya of The Punch newspaper was Photojournalist of the Year while The Guardian’s Ayodele Adeniran and Saheed Olugbon of The Punch were runners up. Mary Abayomi-Fatile of FRCN emerged winner in the Radio category for her report on “Alleged Police Extra-Judicial Killing of Madam Basirat Akinmushire.”

Samuel-Wemimo Bukola and Sharon Ijasan of Television Continental (TVC) were awarded in the Television category for their reports on “Depression and Suicide” and “Child Labour, Child Rights, Labour Laws Violated by Chinese Company” respectively. Samson Folarin of The Punch, with his reports,

“Certificate, Plagiarism Scandal Rocks Nnamdi Azikwe University” was awarded the winner. Oladimeji Ramon of The Punch and Chinwe Agbeze of The Sun were runners up. In the Editorial Cartoon category, Albert Ihams of The Sun won for his reports on ‘N13.5 million Sitting Allowance for Senators.’

The centre also honoured Smart-Cole with a ‘Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence,’ while Amnesty International Nigeria was honoured with the ‘Anti-Corruption Defender Award (Human Rights Specialty).’

WSCIJ board Chairman, Prof. Ropo Sekoni, commended the finalists and award recipients for the great work done. He urged Nigerians to remain steadfast in sustaining democracy, adding, “Our culturally diverse country needs democracy more than most people can imagine. Democracy requires that political leaders and followers show respect for and tolerance of different perspectives and values without which electoral democracy may not achieve its most important goal.”

A total number of 194 entries were received, while 13 journalists were shortlisted for the awards 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 honorary awards.

Chairman of the 2019 judges, Umaru Pate said the quality and quantity of the 2019 entries were an indication that journalists in Nigeria were putting a lot of effort into investigative reporting. Earlier, the Executive Director of WSCIJ, Motunrayo Alaka, commended Nigerian journalists for their tenacity despite the pressure and threats on their lives.

She said, “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.”


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