It was a win for Nigeria and Nigerian journalists when Abubakar Ibrahim won the 2018 Michael Elliott Award for Excellence in African Storytelling.
An experienced investigative journalist and the news editor of the Daily Trust Newspaper, Ibrahim wrote a vivid tale of the true effect of the terrorist activities of Boko Haram. Published in Granta Magazine in May 2017, the story provides factual details of the displaced persons, using the struggles of two women, a Cameroonian and a Nigerian, citizens of the affected nations.
Taken from a pool of 238 applicants, Ibrahim’s story All That Was Familiar, was adjudged the best tale of what war and terrorism do to the people. This well-crafted story of the human toll of terrorism and displacement is according to the judges, a true representation of the ideals for which Micheal Elliot, in whose memory the award was created, stood for.
The award is given by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) in partnership with ONE and the Elliott family. It was established in 2016 in honour of Michael Elliott, an outstanding editor and philanthropist whose life was a testament to the power of storytelling to bear witness to and improve the human condition. The prize aims to advance the work of an emerging journalist covering Africa who strives to strengthen people’s voices and improve their well-being. The inaugural winner was Kenyan health reporter Mercy Juma.
According to Elliott’s widow, Emma Oxford, “Mike would be thrilled by the breadth and depth of talent displayed by the entrants for this year’s award. The Elliott family, along with ONE, ICFJ and many generous supporters, is proud to help support the development of quality journalism in Africa. I am hugely grateful to the staff of ICFJ and my fellow judges for their thoughtful review of the broad range of entries.
“The winning story exemplifies outstanding storytelling on a difficult and important topic. Abubakar’s fearless reporting and powerful writing brought home to me the hardships faced by women, in particular, displaced by the scourge of Boko Haram.”
Ibrahim received the award and a cash prize at a reception in New York on May 24.