The Future Awards Africa Prize for Journalism
Hannah Ojo (30)
Few women in Nigerian Journalism are as decorated as veteran journalist Hannah Ojo. Ojo who runs an investigative journalism beat for The Nation Newspaper, Lagos, Nigeria, has covered stories that expose organizations and persons engaged in activities that have negative environmental and health impact on Nigerians. She also reports on often ignored communities within Lagos and highlights their challenges and grouses with the Lagos state government, holding the state accountable and effecting last change.
Ojo was awarded with the 2017 Nigerian Academy of Science media awards. She is also a 2017 grantee of Impact Africa. She has won prizes at the Nigeria Media Merits Awards and Zimeo Awards. Ojo has also been a recipient of media fellowships organised by BudgIT, News Corp, Thomson Reuters Foundation and the International Center for Journalists. Ojo reported from the 2018 UN General Assembly as a Reham Al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellow.
Linus Unah (26)
Always at the frontlines of conflict reporting, Linus Unah has proven himself as committed above all else, to the story. This kind of unreserved journalism is rare in Nigeria, where salaries are meagre, insurance is non-existent and human life has little to no value to the powers that be. But Linus Unah sees the humanity in all Nigerians and seeks to preserve their dignity through journalistic reporting. Unah has reported stories in 30 states in Nigeria and for most of the world’s top media publications, including The Guardian of UK, Al Jazeera, IRIN, NPR, NewsDeeply, among others.
At the heart of his work is a core understanding of humanity and why it matters to tell stories using human-driven narratives. His stories do not only rise above the din of daily news but also help readers have a feel for the place, people, and situations, as well as their shortcomings, problems and triumphs. Unah is best known for this work covering the conflicts in the North East and Nigeria’s Middle Belt regions. He also highlights the work of non-profit organizations in these regions, urging the government to collaborate with these organizations and adopt their methods.
Unah travelled to Dapchi in early 2018 to report the kidnapping of 110 school girls and pressure the government to work towards their release. His early analysis of the events helped dispel many of the myths around their kidnap and helped non-profit organizations like Bring Back Our Girls put pressure on the government to ensure their safe return. Unah also covered the Cameroonian Refugee crisis in Cross River for Al-Jazeera.
Kemi Busari (29)
There are few better ways to introduce yourself to the world as a kickass journalist than winning the prestigious Wole Soyinka Award for Investigative reporting. But Kemi Busari has always made a statement with his reporting and relentless pursuit of the story. He first caught the attention of the Nigerian journalism industry with ‘Ours Is a Forgotten Generation’ his investigative series on the forgotten resident of Otodo Gbame, who were teargassed and forced out of their fishing community by the Lagos state government to make way for a new luxury apartment complex. His work humanized the residents and gave them the motivation to take the Lagos state government to court, a case they would eventually win against Governor Ambode. He was awarded the Promasidor Quill Awards reporter of the Year Award for her ground-breaking work.
In 2017 Busari joined Premium Times, and went straight to work on his first investigative piece for the newspaper on passport racketeering. Busari believes in citizen journalism and routinely advocates for the disadvantaged in his reporting.
Festus Iyorah (25)
It is hard for a freelance journalist working out of Nigeria. The government and public service ids quick to frustrate journalists and withhold important information, citizens often afraid of retribution will hide important information necessary for reporting from journalists and funding for deep dive projects are rare and strongly contested. But none of this deters Festus Iyorah from getting to heart of every story he encounters. The journalist and photographer has covered all sorts of journalism beats, including Global Health, conflicts and resolution, Social innovation, Gender inequality and tech and development and has bylines in some of the world’s most respected media organizations incliuding Aljazeera, Guardian (UK), Mail and Guardian, Newsdeeply, Ozy, Stanford Social Innovation Review, World Politics Review and YNaija.
In 2017, Iyorah’s exhaustive reporting on the Farmer/Herdsman clash in Agatu, Benue state published in the YNaija News Magazine helped contextualize the inexcusable deaths on both sides and showed without a doubt that the problems in the region went deeper than the superficial explanations offered by the government. His reporting helped pressure government to investigate the clashes and taking action to mitigate them.
Taiwo Adebulu (29)
Like all good reporters, Taiwo Adebulu began his career in journalism as a campus reporter, working with the Nation Nigeria, the country’s widest circulating newspaper. The reach of the paper allowed him to cut his teeth in reporting and create a wide net of contacts and fixers, a valuable asset he would take with him when he joined The Cable in March 2018, to pursue special interest investigations.
Adebulu’s work in investigative journalism has distinguished him from his peers and helped him win a couple of prestigious journalism grants including the Open Contracting Reporting Project (OCPR) grant by the International Center or Investigative Reporting (ICIR), the Oxfam Reporting Grant and the ActionAid Nigeria ACEDG reporting grant. He has put these grants towards reporting important events like the plight of a coastal community endangered by climate change and the abandoned multibillion dollar shore protection contract set aside to protect their homes abandoned by the federal government. He also exposed corrupt officials of the country’s largest electricity distribution company practice of extortion of customers for basic amenities.
His story on children who fish in the Atlantic Ocean to raise their school fees earned him a continental award as he was named the winner of the Sustainable Development (SDGs) category at the 2017 Zimeo Excellence in Media Awards in Ethiopia in November last year. He was also shortlisted as a finalist in the best journalist category for the 2017 Creative African Awards in London.