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ICIR-funded report emerges overall winner at 2021 WAMECA


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AN investigative report commissioned by the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR) has emerged the overall winner at the 2021 West Africa Media Excellence Awards (WAMECA) held on Friday in Accra, Ghana.

The fifth West Africa Media Excellence Conference Awards winners were announced on Friday, October 22, 2021, in Accra, Ghana, with the theme: ‘Misinformation, Digital Media Regulation, and Journalism in Africa.’

The report, ‘Pfizer Kano Trial: 24 years after, some victims not compensated and still can’t live normal lives’ was done by Uthman Samad, who was then a reporter in The ICIR.

His report looked at lives of Kano citizens that were affected by a Pfizer vaccine trial.

The victims, who are still suffering from the side effects of the vaccine, were not compensated. Pfizer claimed it obtained closure on the matter in 2016.

Samad also won the health category.

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He was announced as the overall joint winner with Ghanaian Kwetey Nartey, who also won the investigative journalism category.

Nartey, a senior broadcast journalist with Joy FM story, won with the story, ‘Robbing the Poor,’ which was a two-part investigation.

His report looked into how some produce-buying clerks found dubious means of cheating cocoa farmers. The clerks also paid the farmers less for premium cocoa, certified ordinary cocoa as premium, and smuggled names into beneficiary communities under the Cocoa Certification Programme.

Other winners from Nigeria were: Chinedu Asadu, Caleb Ojewale and Chikodi Okereocha.

Asadu, a former Investigative reporter with The Cable, won the environmental reporting prize.

His undercover investigation,  ‘How Chinese miners endangered residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT),’ was adjudged the best in the environmental reporting category.

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Okereocha, a reporter with The Nation, was announced the winner for the special COVID-19 reporting category, while the anti-corruption reporting prize was won by  Caleb Ojewale of BusinessDay.

Journalists from Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Burkina Faso, and Benin republic were shortlisted as finalists.

The ICIR’s Olugbenga Adanikin was also among the finalists.

A total number of  711 entries were received for the 2021 West Africa Media Excellence Awards from 14 countries. The five-member jury, after a thorough review of the entries, shortlisted 21 finalists from five countries.

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