A journalist with PREMIUM TIMES, Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, on Sunday emerged the 2018 WSCIJ-Nigerian Investigative Reporter of the year.
The award was the thirteenth edition of the Wole Soyinka Awards for Investigative Reporting
The event, organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), is held annually in commemoration of December 9 – the World Anticorruption Day and eve of the Human Rights Day – to call attention to the significance of the media generally and investigative reporting in particular, to attaining good governance, accountability and social justice.
Amongst several dignitaries present at the ceremony at NECA House, Alausa, were human rights lawyer, Femi Falana; Executive Director, Human and Environmental Development Agenda, Lanre Suraj; professor of Mass Communication, Ralph Akinfeleye; Michel Deelen, Deputy Ambassador to the Kingdom of Netherlands; and many others.
Three reporters from PREMIUM TIMES were listed among the 12 finalists from the online, broadcast and print media, shortlisted for the honour.
Abdulaziz Abdulaziz, an associate editor, won the online category with his six-series reports, which exposed the NYSC certificate forgery by the former finance minister, Kemi Adeosun.
Also, PREMIUM TIMES’ Senate correspondent, Kemi Busari, emerged the runner-up with his piece, ‘Investigation: The appalling, risky state of Nigeria’s multi-billion Naira nuclear technology centre’ while Oladeinde Olawoyin, who covers oil and gas, business and Lagos metropolis, was commended for his two-part story, ‘Investigation: Inside Nigeria’s Drivers’ License Fraud and How Officials Dupe Applicants.’
In his opening remarks, the Board Secretary of WSCIJ, Jiti Ogunye, congratulated the category winners and the honorary award recipients for the feat.
The Chairman, 2018 Judges’ Board, Umaru Pate, applauded the finalists for the quality of their reports among 136 other entries received across the six categories.
According to the professor of Mass Communication, a lot 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.
Meanwhile, other winners include New Telegraph’s Mojeed Alabi, who emerged the winner of the print category; Kolawole Aliu, a 2017 runner-up, who won with his photograph on, ‘The Menace of Lagos State Task Force on People’, published in the Leadership Newspaper, Sharon Ijasa from Television Continental (TVC) who won the television category while Chinelo Ozoalor of Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Enugu, clinched the award for the radio category. Chinwe Agbeze of Businessday won the Runner-up for the print category.
The winners, runners-up and commended works got cash prizes of N200,000, N100,000 and N50,000 respectively, plus a certificate of commendation. In addition, winners got award plaques and will proceed on an all-expense-paid international study tour in 2019.
The overall winner, Mr Abdulaziz, in his remarks, dedicated the award to the team at PREMIUM TIMES, whose input, he said, made the story and the award happen. He also celebrated the courage of Nigerians who asked for action on the report.
For the honorary awards, John Momoh of Channels TV received the Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence for his over two-decade commitment to media excellence while the Executive Secretary of the Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Waziri Adio, was conferred with the Anti-Corruption Defender Award for his consistent public stance against corruption.
With the first edition in October 2005, the Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative Reporting has produced 91 finalists, eight investigative journalists of the year and 20 honorary awards recipients.