Voice of Nigeria reporter bags OFAB-AFRICA Media Award
Ene Okwanihe, Abuja
Voice of Nigeria’s (VON) Agriculture Correspondent, Ene Okwanihe has won the OFAB-AFRICA media award, (OMAs), for Best Agriculture Biotechnology Reporter of the Year (2022) in Radio Category.
The 2022 award which was hosted by Nigeria in the capital city of Abuja had ten African Countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Mozambique and Nigeria contending for the awards.
The Award, which is its 8th edition, is aimed at encouraging and recognizing exceptional reporters who stood out in the coverage of the agricultural biotechnology sector on the African continent.
The VON correspondent becomes the first to win the award for Nigeria in the Radio Category.
Nigeria also came out tops in the television category with Dorcas Bello from Viewer TV, an online TV platform clinching it for Nigeria while Emmanuel Ntirenganya from Rwanda took home the prize for best Reporter in the print category and the overall best.
Delivering the welcome address at the award ceremony Abuja Nigeria’s capital city, the Director General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Biotechnology Development Agency in Nigeria, Professor Abdullahi Mustapha said, “thanks to the media coverage and publicity of agriculture biotechnology, people are better aware and more receptive of the biotechnology.”
Professor Abdullahi noted that the coverage and support by the media has stimulated the adoption of agricultural biotechnology.
“This initiative tagged OFAB Media Awards (OMAs) with the main aim of recognizing exemplary journalism that stimulates best practices in the adoption of agricultural technologies, particularly agricultural biotechnology that brings to bare, the critical role the media plays in educating and informing the public about agricultural biotechnology and which holds annually has endeared the media to us and made them our strong allies by amplifying our messages to the public”
For the Executive Director of the Africa Agricultural Transformation Foundation, Dr. Canisius Kanangire, he said communication is important in reaching out to the people and enlightening them on various available technologies that can promote food security in Africa.
“We all recognize that Africa has the potential to produce food not only for Africans, but also for the world, so if you have that potential and still produce much less and are food insecure then there’s a problem that we need to address as one of the key priorities.
“Therefore ladies and gentlemen, the media’s role is essential in highlighting these challenges and communicating the solutions that our scientists are developing. Agricultural biotechnology is one of the technologies that needs concerted efforts for promotions because it suffers unwarranted criticism,” he said.
The Vice chancellor of the Federal University of Kashere in Gombe state, Professor Umaru Pate who was the guest speaker spoke on the theme of the event “media as a game changer for Agricultural transformation”
Prof. Pate explained the importance of communication in enlightening and helping the people understand the new innovations in agriculture that are geared towards improving food production in Africa.
“Proactive and public engagement can maximize impact and prevent disinformation, lead to better perception for positive attitude and off course action” he said.
In the past 8 years, the Africa Agricultural Transformation Foundation through the OFAB-AFRICA MEDIA AWARDS (OMAs) has continued to recognize outstanding journalists from its operating countries of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi and Nigeria, for their coverage of agricultural biotechnology and its benefits to society.
The event brought together stakeholders in the agricultural science sector and the science sector in Nigeria and Africa and it was hosted by Open Forum on Agricultural Biotechnology (OFAB), the African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) and the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA).