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The 2019 prize was instituted by Gatefield, an African boutique public strategy and media group, and is backed by a $3000 (N1,000,000) endowment.
According to the organisation’s statement released on Monday, Mordi “was selected for her investigation into the horrid web of sexual harassment on university campuses in West Africa. This resulted in widespread disciplinary actions and policy reforms across the institutions that were exposed by her thorough reporting of the events”.
Soyombo’s investigative series, on the other hand, “exposed the entrenched nature of corruption within Nigeria’s criminal justice system. Fisayo spent about two weeks in detention as a ‘criminal’ to bring these stories to the Nigerian public. His report led to the announcement of an official investigation by the Nigerian authorities”.
His three-part report, jointly funded by The ICIR and TheCable online newspaper, was published in October. Shortly after its publication, interior minister Rauf Aregbesola described the investigation as a “fantastic job” and condemned the dehumanisation of prison inmates.
Gatefield’s Lead Strategist, Adewunmi Emoruwa, said both journalists “demonstrated the highest level of empathy by subjecting themselves to the excruciating torture of the injustice that they sought to expose in telling these stories.”
“We could not be more proud of our decision to honour these brave journalists with our inaugural prize,” he added.
The group said it inaugurated the journalism prize as a way of rewarding journalists and citizen reporters from Sub-Saharan Africa “whose work have resulted in meaningful positive impact on the society”.
Soyombo and Mordi will be awarded on Thursday, February 20, in Abuja at an event scheduled to commemorate the World Day of Social Justice.