AYOADE Zariat Yetunde reports,

Two PEN Press members, Abdulrasheed Hammad, a penultimate Law student who doubles as the outfit’s Editor-in-Chief, and Abiodun Jamiu, a Political Science finalist and President of the National Association of Campus Journalists (NACJ) at the Usmanu Danfodiyo University, clinched awards at the just concluded Alfred Opubor Next-Gen Campus Reporter Awards.

The Centre For Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID) Alfred Opubor Next-Gen Campus Reporter Awards, which was held at the Treasure Suites Hotel in Abuja, on Friday, December 3, celebrates and motivates outstanding student journalists who have made impacts in social issues through their stories.

The judging committee shortlisted the top-three finalists for the award categories. The categories include Best Budgetary Tracking/Procurement

Story, Campus Investigative Reporter, Conflict Story, Election Observation Report, Environment/Climate Change Report, Fact-Check, Gender Story, Health Reporting and Sports Writer of the year.

The CJID, in a statement it released on Friday, November 25, disclosed that this year’s edition of the awards generated 164 entries from campus journalists across 53 tertiary institutions in Nigeria, with the southwest region leading the tally with 74 entries. The northwest followed with 38 entries whilst the northcentral and south-south had 21 and 8, respectively. The southeast and northeast tied at six entries each.

The colourful ceremony saw PEN Press Editor-in-Chief, Abdulrasheed Hammad, emerge as the First runner-up in the Investigative Category of Environmental Reporting and bag a cash prize of ₦60,000. Abiodun Jamiu, the NACJ-UDUS top gun, on the other hand, won the Best Conflict Story Award and a ₦100,000 cash prize.

“I am really glad to be among the finalists shortlisted out of the numerous entries received across various tertiary institutions. Sincerely, I didn’t expect this Award,” the Editor-in-Chief told PEN press.

Speaking further on his winning entry, he noted that he used to be an alien to the Environmental Crime and Climate Reporting field.

In his words, “When 1-79 media unveiled an opportunity to work on Environmental Crime and Climate Change with an accompanying grant, I didn’t know anything about it. But as a passionate journalist, I saw it an opportunity to explore other aspects of journalism. I started to make research, read different stories, articles and research from different writers. These gave me an insight to my story that got shortlisted for the award.”

He advised campus journalists aspiring to do great things to be consistent and open to learning and exploring other areas of journalism. He also emphasized on working with passion.

“When I started campus journalism, I was passionate about it and I am here today, reaping the benefits of my passion and dedication. You never know when the resuylt will come,” he concluded.

Other UDUS students who bagged awards include Abdulwasiu Olokooba, a 400-level Law student who clinched the Best Environmental/Climate Change award, Abdulwaheed Sofiuhullahi, an Education and English finalist who emerged first runner-up in Health Reporting, and Abdulganiyu Abdulrahman, a 300-level Islamic Studies student who was the second runner-up in the Gender Equality category.

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