Kolapo Olapoju, editor-in-chief of TheCable, has been shortlisted for the 2021 Fetisov Journalism Awards (FJA) in the Outstanding Contribution to Peace category.
Olapoju’s report on the South Kaduna conflict at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic is among 37 shortlisted articles in 34 countries.
In the two-part series – Conflict in a Pandemic – published on TheCable, Olapoju highlighted the plight of the women and children of southern Kaduna who have been displaced and devastated by conflict as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since 2014, Olapoju has been actively involved in uncovering issues such as lead contamination, environmental degradation in host mining communities, and underage labor. He has partnered with nonprofits such as Global Rights Nigeria, while his work has been used as a case study for global research funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Olapoju, finalist for the 2020 DAME Awards for Child-Friendly Reporting, has helped find solutions to some of the development challenges plaguing Nigeria.
His numerous reports on menstrual hygiene management (MHM) and his lobbying with key players prompted a legislator, in 2019, to table a motion on the subsidization of sanitary products. This contributed to the eventual federal government decision to exempt health products from value added tax (VAT).
His reporting on a village in Abuja that never had electricity and subsequent follow-up with the Rural Electrification Agency (REA) resulted in the approval of funds for the electrification of the village.
In February, Olapoju became TheCable’s third editor-in-chief, succeeding Taiwo George.
Three other Nigerian journalists were also shortlisted for the Fetisov Journalism Awards.
Premium Times’ Kemi Busari was shortlisted in the Outstanding Investigative Reporting category for her series – Blood on Uniforms – which exposed how security agencies killed citizens during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Additionally, Olatunji Ololade of The Nation was shortlisted in the Outstanding Contribution to Peace category for his story, The Boys Who Swapped Football for Bullets, while Shola Lawal of The Christian Monitor was shortlisted in the Civil Rights Contribution category for history, As Ocean Vides, Senegalese fishermen risk seas for a new life in Europe.
Prize organizers have stated that the first prize winner in each category will receive a cash prize of 100,000 Swiss francs and a unique silver statuette designed and handcrafted in Switzerland, while the second and third prize winners will receive 20,000 and 10,000 Swiss francs respectively.