The journalists who were awarded include ‘Kunle Adebajo ─ International Centre for Investigative Reporter (ICIR); Cletus Ukpong ─ Premium Times; Tobore Ovuorie ─ The Nation Newspaper; Tunde Ajaja ─ Punch Newspaper and Destiny Onyemihia ─ Voice of Nigeria.
While Adebajo won the WAMECA award in the telecommunications category, Ovuorie won the WAMECA award for best human rights coverage in West Africa, Ukpong won the WAMECA Award winner for best Investigative reporting, Ajaja won the award for best Business and SMEs reporting and Onyemihia,the other hand, edged other journalists to win the Continental Journalism Awards on AU Charter category.
Other winners at the event including Sama Tounwendsida Hugues Richard with L’Economiste Du Faso, Burkina Faso who won the WAMECA Award for best health reporting; Seriba Kone won award for the best anti corruption story while Nabil Ahmed Rufai of @GHOneTV for best SDG reporting in West Africa.
Sama Tounwendsida Hugues Richard with L’Observeteur Paalga was awarded West Africa’s Journalist of the Year for his reporting on mental illness in Burkina Faso.
Organisers of the award, Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), said the 2019 edition of WAMECA received 724 entries from fifteen countries in West Africa.
The entries were thoroughly reviewed by a five-member jury of the award and twenty-one finalists were shortlisted from six countries.
Other finalists for the award include Odinaka Anudu ─ Business Day; Aneta Chineye ─ TV360; eight others from Ghana, four from Burkina Faso and one from Senegal, Cote D’ Ivoire and Liberia respectively.
Julius Barigaba, The East African, Uganda; Wagdy Sawahel, University World News – Africa edition, Egypt; Afeez Hanafi, Punch, Nigeria; Momar Niang, Ouestaf News, Senegal and Vanessa Adie Offiong, Daily Trust, Nigeria also emerged finalists for the Continental Journalism Awards on AU Charter.
All the finalists received Certificates of Merit while the ultimate winners received plaques, certificates and cash prizes.
The Executive Director of MFWA, Sulemana Braimah, said the award was aimed at showcasing and honouring journalism excellence, an objective according to him aimed at improving quality and independent journalism in West Africa.
The West Africa Media Excellence Conference and Awards is an annual initiative of the MFWA to promote media excellence in the sub-region.