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    Monday, April 28, 2014

    Again, Punch Journalist Wins Academy Of Science Award

    Bukola Adebayo
    For the second year running, a journalist with Nigeria’s most widely read newspaper, The Punch, has won the Nigerian Academy of Science  Media Award.
    A senior health correspondent with The Punch, Bukola Adebayo, emerged the Science Journalist of the Year (2013) at the award ceremony, which held at the Protea Hotel in Ikeja, Lagos, on Friday.
    The Editor of Sunday Punch, Toyosi Ogunseye,  had won the highly coveted science prize in 2012.
    The award-winning newspaper last year clinched most of the outstanding journalism awards in the country. Some of the top prizes won by The Punch in 2013 were the Editor of the Year; Press Reporter of the Year; Judicial Reporter of the Year; the Action Photography award; Best Editorial Writing award and the Informed Commentary award.

    But, at the gathering of foremost scientists in Lagos on Friday, Adebayo’s investigative story entitled, On The Track of Blood Merchants, won in a shortlist that included Kemi Adejumo of Business Day and Chukwuma Muanya of The Guardian Newspapers. Adebayo’s story, published on February 11, 2013 edition of The Punch, is an expose on the activities of commercial blood donors in the nation’s hospitals.

    The panel of judges, chaired by Prof. Gabriel Adewoye, said The Punch entry for the prize received overwhelming commendation from every member of the panel for its exemplary contribution to science.
    He said, “This story calls for action in the health sector as people rather choose to sell their blood for commercial purposes instead of donating it voluntarily as it is done in other parts of the world.”

    Challenging journalists to be more committed to their duties, Adewoye urged them to look beyond the surface and to dig deeper to tell stories that impact on humanity. He congratulated The Punch on its efforts at grooming award-winning journalists.

    Adewoye, who commended this year’s winner for her bravery, said the story did not only expose the blood sale cartel in hospitals but also educated the public on the dangers in receiving blood transfusion from unverified sources.

    “There are cases where people have contracted deadly diseases in the process of purchasing and receiving blood from illegal sources like the commercial blood donors. It is a deadly trade that is killing people in the society,” he added.

    Adebayo while receiving the award said her work was intended to draw government’s attention to the inadequacies in the health sector.
    She said, “Many patients are dying because there is an acute shortage of blood in the nation’s blood banks. The report was to shed light on the plight of patients in government hospitals.”

    The Academy’s Executive Secretary, Dr. Doyin Odubanjo, noted that the award was to encourage journalists to X-ray under-reported issues that would impact directly on the lives of the citizens.

    Adebayo, a B.sc holder in Biochemistry from the University of Ilorin, Kwara State, went home with a plaque, cash prize and a Samsung tablet.
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