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ICIR-supported Journalists receive awards, nominations for investigations

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By Rosemary Olufemi

INTERNATIONAL  and local awards, as well as recognition, have trailed ICIR-trained journalists across newsrooms in Nigeria. The capacity training project supported by MacArthur Foundation has enabled journalists from newsrooms across Nigeria receive awards and nominations for their investigative work and contribution to investigative journalism. 

Anthony Akaeze of Tell Magazine recently won the West Africa Media Excellence Awards for the Investigative Reporting category with his Darkness in Lagos despite N4bn ‘Light Up Lagos’ project. Akaeze was also nominated for the Human Rights category for his investigative report on Otodo Gbame: How Lagos Govt Killed a Community and its Dreams. Both investigations were supported by the MacArthur Foundation and ICIR.

Also, Kemi Busari and Oladeinde Olawoyin, both of Premium Times, got nominations in Anti-corruption and Business Reporting categories respectively as finalists among the 15 others.

Manasseh Azuri Awuni of Ghana (who emerged the overall best journalist), Akaeze, and the other winners at the event received plaques, certificates and cash prizes.
All the finalists including Akaeze, Kemi Busari and Oladeinde Olawoyin will be inducted as fellows of the MFWA’s Journalism for Change Network, which goes with regular training opportunities within and outside Nigeria.
The West Africa Media Excellence Awards is an initiative of the MFWA to promote media excellence in the sub-region. The awards ceremony honours West African journalists who have produced compelling stories which have had a significant impact on society. The 2018 edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Awards held in Accra, Ghana.
In addition, Cletus Ukpong of the Premium Times received a fellowship award for his sixpart series investigation on how corruption, poor budget planning and implementation, and outright neglect led to the near collapse of public education in Akwa Ibom, one of Nigeria’s richest states.
The fellowship which will be funded by MacArthur Foundation is an all-expense paid trip to attend the annual African Investigative Journalism Conference-AIJC. The African Investigative Journalism Conference (#AIJC18) is a gathering of African investigative journalists for skills training, networking, promoting, collaboration and in-depth accounts of major investigative stories.
The 2018 Edition will be hosted by the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg from 28-31 October. 
Similarly, Chikezie Omeje of the ICIR emerged as the winner of the fifth edition of the Africa Fact-Checking Award. This annual award honours journalists in Africa-based media in the growing field of fact-checking.
Omeje was announced the winner of the award at a ceremony in Johannesburg, South Africa, in late October.

Also, Adekunle Adebajo of the ICIR won the Best opinion piece award at the Campus Journalism Award named in honour of the late Alfred Opubor organized by The Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism –PTCIJ.

The MacArthur Foundation funded project aims to strengthen the capacity of the media to investigate and report on budgetary and procurement processes in Nigeria. The project seeks to enhance the capacity of the media to understand public procurement processes and report budgetary and procurement related corruption, with a view to promoting accountability, transparency, good governance and strengthening anti-corruption efforts.

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