A Nigerian journalist with the HumAngle, Muhammed Akinyemi has emerged as the best West African journalist of the year in the seventh edition of the West African Media Excellence Awards (WAMECA) in Accra, Ghana.
Akinyemi beat 16 other finalists to win the regional awards with his story titled “All Die Na Die: At the Heart of Nigeria’s Soot Problem.”
As the overall winner, Akinyemi won $2000 prize in addition to the $500 he had earlier won for emerging the winner of the Environment category of the awards.
Other categories include Human Rights, Business, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), Migration and Investigative reporting.
In his address of welcome, Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director, MFWA, said 825 entries were received from journalists in 15 West African countries for the latest 2023 edition.
Braimah explained that the awards, which started seven years ago, were meant to appreciate the role being played by journalists in the subregion.
“We are in a great democratic recession for military has taken over power in about four countries in the region.
“Terrorism, kidnapping and banditry are escalating the level of insecurity in our region. Even where there are democracies in the region, there are weakling institutions.
“In a moment like this, public looks up to the media to play its role. Unfortunately, media is not spared by the challenges in the society such as attacks on journalists and the challenge of the prevailing economic situation.
“In spite of these challenges, we have some journalists who are leaving above board, spotlighting corruption within the system.
“Therefore, this gathering is meant to reward them,” said the executive director.
The annual awards are being supported by the United States Embassy in Ghana, MTN Ghana, Stanbic IBTC bank, OXFAM and WADEMOS.