Damilola Banjo, the founder of The Transverse, has been shortlisted for the 2019 Festisov Journalism Award.
An enthusiastic Nigerian investigative journalist, Banjo’s investigative report: ‘How forgery, bribery, exam malpractice booms at Lagos primary schools’ made the shortlist’s ‘Outstanding Investigative Reporting’ category.
Her investigative report had exposed the rots in many primary schools in Nigeria’s centre of excellence – Lagos. It revealed how six years education could be bought in one week for just one hundred and twenty thousand naira – N120,000; how examination malpractice had become an organised crime; and how kids as young as 12 years were being used as mercenaries.
Giving details of how the rots flourished, she unearthed the conscious connivance of government officials in malpractices during entrance examinations and how some of them sell the state’s endorsed First School Leaving Certificate for meagre financial gains.
This is Banjo’s third nomination in a series of global recognition for her sterling investigative reports. She would be attending the Free Press Association award ceremony as a finalist for the 2019 Young Journalist category and was a finalist for the 2019 Kurt Schork Memorial Awards.
Disclosing that she has “not got award from any of the nominations,” Banjo guessed “the nominations are awards in their own right and I feel really encouraged by them.”
She added that, “The recent one is by far the highest international award I have been shortlisted for. I mean this in terms of value and cash prize.
“Also, those that were nominated with me are colleagues in Nigeria and abroad that I really enjoy and learn from their works. So, being on the shortlist alone feels like I won the award already.”
The Fetisov Journalism Awards was established to promote universal human values such as honesty, justice, courage and nobility; and to serve as annual global contests for journalists in order to distinguish the works of those who bring up hot-button issues with widespread impact.
Likewise, it seeks to reward outstanding journalists with major money prizes for their dedicated work and help nominees and winners to achieve greater visibility by publishing their works.
Journalists shortlisted in the same category include: Abdulaziz Abdulaziz (Nigeria); Azhar Kalamujić (Bosnia and Herzegovina); Christine Kenneally (Australia); Diego Cabot (Argentina); Ian Cobain (United Kingdom).
Others include: Khadija Sharife, Mark Anderson (South Africa); Mariela Castañón (Guatemala); Mathias Destal, Geoffrey Livolsi, Lorenzo Tugnoli, Michel Despratx (France); Solomon Tembang Mforgham (Cameroon); Wendy Selene Pérez Becerra, Paula Mónaco Felipe (Mexico); and Roli Srivastava (India).