Nigerian journalist wins UN Foundation prize

A Nigerian journalist, Augustina Armstrong-Ogbonna, has been awarded the United Nations Foundation Gold Prize for Development and Humanitarian reporting.

Ms. Armstrong-Ogbonna, a freelance journalist with Radio Nigeria’s Radio One won the Gold medal for her reportage on neglected communities along the Lagos coastline that are bearing the drastic impact of sea rise as well as threats of displacement.

The award and medal were presented in New York on Monday by Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nation’s Secretary General at the 20th United Nations Correspondents Association (UNCA) Annual Awards for the best print, broadcast (TV & Radio) and online, web-based media coverage of the United Nations, U.N. agencies and field operations.

The prize was awarded for her report on how climate change and rapid urbanization is affecting coastal communities such as Okun Alfa and Otodo-gbame in Lagos with extinction and eviction respectively.

According to the UNCA; “Augustina Armstrong-Ogbonna braves dangers to report on Nigeria’s coastal communities ravaged by conflict and degrading environment that affect development and human lives.”

With almost ten years of experience as a multimedia and environmental journalist, Ms. Armstrong-Ogbonna has focused her reportage on neglected communities across Nigeria like Okun Alfa and Otodo-gbame in Eti-Osa local government area, Sagbo Kodji Island, and Makoko in Lagos state.

Tina Armstrong with the UN Scribe, Ban Ki-Moon
Tina Armstrong with the UN Scribe, Ban Ki-Moon

Sagbo Kodji has never had power supply despite being located on an island that overlooks high rise of commercial Lagos Island as well as Apapa sea port.

The report was seen online by a renewable energy company owned by two young Nigerians, whose company approached the community and provided solar power panels and battery to some homes and ventures on the island, thereby lighting up the community for the first time in over a century of its existence.

Reacting to the prize, Ms. Armstrong-Ogbonna said she was humbled by the recognition from the United Nations.

“It is a major encouragement for me to persist with impacting journalism that affects the common man and development of the environment. I am must obliged for this,” she said.

Until recently, Ms. Armstrong-Ogbonna produced and presented a weekly environmental programme on community development called Community Diary on Radio One 103.5 FM in Lagos. She had also produced content for REUTERS, CNN, German Information Center, and EnviroNews Nigeria.

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