Reporters from SaharaReporters won the biggest prizes at the 2020 Wole Soyinka Awards for Investigative Journalism on December 9 in Lagos.
Damilola Banjo, who reported for SaharaReporters before joining the BBC, won the award for the best investigative reporter of the year with her “Justice For Sale” published by SaharaReporters in March.
The three-part story highlighted the corruption in the Nigerian criminal justice system. It exposed the collaboration of stakeholders like the police, particularly the anti-cultism squad based in Gbagada-Lagos, the court officials, lawyers and prison officials.
As a result of the story, the Lagos anti-cultism police unit was suspended.
She also won the online category with the same story while Hassan Adebayo of the Premium Times was the runner-up.
Another Saharareporters story, jointly done by Banjo and Habib Oladapo came third in the online category. The duo had published a two-part report titled ‘Inside Lagos School where A1 can be bought’ in July which exposed examination fraud in a prominent private school in Lagos.
In her winning speech, Banjo thanked the Wole Soyinka Centre for its efforts in promoting investigative journalism in Nigeria.
She dedicated her awars to Omoyele Sowore, who recognised her potential and allowed her to practice journalism.
Other prize winners include: Samson Folarin of Punch Newspaper who won the print category ahead of Ibrahim Adeyemi of Business Day; Bukola Samuel-Wemimo of TVC won the TV Category; and Victor Asowata of Punch Newspaper and Ikechukwu Ibe of Daily Trust won the cartoon and photography categories respectively.
Lade Bonuola of Thisday Newspapers was honoured with a lifetime award for journalistic excellence while Femi Falana was awarded the human rights defender.
The executive director and CEO of the Whole Soyinka Centre For Investigative Journalism, Motunrayo Alaka, said the awards were instituted to salute the courage and prowess of Nigerian investigative journalists.