A HumAngle investigative report has won the environmental reporting category award at the seventh edition of the West Africa Media Excellence Conference Awards (WAMECA).
This was announced at the award ceremony which was held in Accra, Ghana on Nov. 11.
The winning story titled “All Die Na Die: At The Heart Of Nigeria’s Soot Problem,” was HumAngle’s first interactive report. It investigated the effects of oil bunkering on the environment in Rivers State, one of the oil-producing states in Nigeria’s South-South region.
The investigation made use of immersive interactive elements such as visual and audio tools to reveal a clear picture of the genesis and process of illegal bunkering in the region, and how it has contaminated the soil of affected areas, making it “soft as wool.”
It also showed how it has contaminated the water in affected areas, as well as air quality, putting the health of hundreds of residents at risk.
The health hazards brought on residents by the soot problem (skin irritation, difficulty in breathing, irritation of the eyes, nose, throat, poor/blurry vision, and coughing) were also highlighted in the report as well as its economic impact.
The painstaking investigation done by Muhammed Akinyemi, HumAngle’s Interactive Editor at the time, also took a close look at the people at the heart of the problem (oil bunkerers and residents) and found that a major cause of the problem was poverty: even though a number of them said they knew the effects of the soot on both their health and their environment, they did not mind even death so long as there was money to be made from the bunkered oil, thus the unusual title of the report “All Die Na Die”.
Akinyemi was also awarded West African Journalist of the Year during the award ceremony.
The WAMECA is an annual award sponsored by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and this year’s edition came in ten categories.
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