A PREMIUM TIMES journalist, Taiwo-Hassan Adebayo, and seven others were honoured for their works at the 15th award ceremony of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) in Lagos on Wednesday.
The centre annually honours journalists who use investigative stories to amplify the voice of the most vulnerable in Nigeria.
Only eight journalists got awards on Wednesday, picked from 188 entries.
PREMIUM TIMES, Punch and The Sun Newspapers also received awards for the best investigative media of the year.
Mr Adebayo was runner-up in the online category for his report, “From Jonathan to Buhari, Inside Nigeria’s multi-billion naira railway fraud.”
Presenting the awards under the theme, “Masked but not silenced,” the centre noted that the challenges that masked journalism, especially in the COVID-19 era, could not silence journalists and media organisations.
Judges’ Comment on Entries
Abigail Ogwezzy-Ndisika, the Chair of the 2020 Judges Board, said all the 188 entries received by the centre were good.
“Generally, all the entries are strong, because they drew attention to major national issues. However, some stories deserve special mention and the authors also deserve commendation for their professionalism.”
The judge said the online category had a stream of quality investigative reports but observed that “the online platform is abused; and verbosity is its signature.
“Most stories had no consideration for the attention span of the readers. So, we suggest that when online journalists mine data, they should paraphrase for conciseness and precision; and interpret them without losing accuracy, logic and completeness. Also, technically, in terms of language use, there is need for improvement,” she said.
Mrs Ogwezzy-Ndisika further said the radio category did not measure up to standard as the entries were merely feature stories. However, she said a story that shows the levity of treating cases of missing persons is worthy of mention.
Only one television report made it to the shortlist. While many of the entries in the photo category raised issues of concern; they were weak in professional touch as many of them were not visually powerful, the judge said.
Mrs Ogwezzy-Ndisika added that although some of the stories did not receive award, they brought to the fore important issues that deserve attention.
Full list of Awardees
Victor Asowata (Commended)
His cartoon: “Canada opens doors for medical professionals” published in Punch newspaper.
Ikechuke Ibe (Commended)
His photo: “An armed female soldier punishes a commercial bike rider at Marabara, Nasarawa” published by Daily Trust.
Damilola Banjo (Winner)
Her work – “Justice for sale” published on Sahara Reporters.
Taiwo-Hassan Adebayo (Runner-up)
His work – “From Jonathan to Buhari, Inside Nigeria’s multibillion naira railway fraud”, published on Premium Times.
Habib Oladapo and Damilola Banjo (Commended)
Their story : “Inside private school in Lagos where A1 can be bought” published on Sahara Reporters.
Television Investigative Report
Bukola Samuel-Wemimo (Winner)
Her work – “Sexual Abuse: How police officers clog the wheels of justice” showed on TVC.
Samson Folarin (Winner)
His work – “FHRO certificate Scandal” published by Punch.
Ibrahim Adeyemi (Runner-up)
His work – “Sokoto’s ghost teachers, corrupt school principals stealing FG’s N-Power Funds” published by Business Day
Ibrahim Adeyemi (Commended)
His work – “With just N200 bribe per immigration checkpoint, migrants are infiltrating Nigeria through Sokoto” published by Business Day.
2020 WSCIJ – Nigerian Investigative Reporter of the year
Her work – “Justice for Sale” published on Sahara Reporters.
Lifetime Award for Journalistic Excellence
Lade Bonuola, a former editor of Daily Times and managing Director of The Guardian and the defunct Daily Comet.
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