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Nigerian Investigative Journalist, Ejiro Umukoro Bags Prestigious USAGM ChangeMaker Award

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Ejiro Umukoro
Ejiro Umukoro





Ejiro Umukoro, Delta State’s finest investigative journalist, and epitome of journalism prowess in Nigeria has been recognised for her outstanding contributions to media and journalism with the prestigious ChangeMakers Award presented by the United States Agency for Global Media (USAGM).

The Award was presented by Inna Dubinsky, the Development and Training Manager at USAGM’s office of business development of the agency. Umukoro was lauded for her exceptional initiatives, unwavering commitment to nurturing young journalists, and her relentless pursuit of delivering credible and unbiased news through LightRay Media, an organisation she leads as the Executive Director.

This award, Dubinsky says, “is in appreciation for your impactful Initiatives and contributions to building capacity of the media in Nigeria and other countries, sharing your expertise and training new cadre of young journalists, and your dedication to providing truthful, objective and balanced news and information at LightRay Media”, Dubinsky emphasied.

Popularly referred to as “Lady E”, Ejiro Umukoro’s impact transcends borders and industries. Her influence extends throughout Nigeria’s media, entertainment, communications, and career development sectors. She is credited for discovering and nurturing talents like Timi Dakolo, Leri (one of Burna Boy’s producer), renowned Mark Angel Comedy, Angel D’ Laff (PH Comedy Club) among others.

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Journalists, writers, and broadcasters within the Nigerian media landscape have also benefited from her training programmes, mentoring, and now recently launched fellowship.

Umukoro’s investigative works have triggered tangible change. Notably, her in-depth report on the rising trend of Female Cultism in Delta State prompted the Ministry of Education to declare a state of emergency. Her expose on the ‘Ritual Does Not Give Us Money’ by yahoo plus boys led to the incarceration of offenders and preventive measures being taken at Saint Patrick’s School, among other interventions.

Her efforts during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to shed light on gender-based violence contributed significantly to raising awareness and catalyzing legislative action, including the passage of crucial acts in Delta State aimed at curbing such atrocities.

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Furthermore, her pioneering initiative of establishing the first investigative-driven radio station in Delta State as the Pioneer General Manager, and her role as the Convener of LightRay Women in Media Leadership Initiative have reshaped the media landscape, advocating for greater female representation and leadership roles in newsrooms.

All of these impactful investigations led her to publish her creative investigative book titled, Distortion, a highly read recommended book within the media spaces and currently being considered as a book to be read by secondary school students in Nigeria by the education ministry. Book two of Distortion will be launched next year, 2024.

Ejiro Umukoro‘s accolades and recognitions, including the British Council International Young Communications Entrepreneurs Award and the Report Women Leadership Award from the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, are a testament to her unwavering dedication and influence in the field of journalism.

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Ejiro Umukoro’s journey to journalistic excellence has been marked by various prestigious fellowships, grants, and international speaking engagements. Her work has been featured on global platforms, positioning her as a sought-after expert on issues spanning continents.

ABOUT EJIRO UMUKORO:
Ejiro Umukoro’s is the first and only Nigerian to win the British Council International Young Communications Entrepreneurs Award, the first and only Delta to receive the Report Women Leadership Award of Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism, nominated for the ICFJ Award, and Code for Africa’s Wanadata South-South Champion.
Due to the impact on her investigative work into the rising trend of Female Cultism in Secondary Schools in Delta State, she inspired parents and school principals to take action which led to the declaration of a state of emergency by the Ministry of Education to fight the menace. Her investigative report also got the Saint Patrick’s School to raise the entire perimeter of its fence to prevent further abuse of its premises as a hideout.
Her other investigation into the ‘Ritual does not give us money’ by yahoo plus boys exposed their modus operandi, with the perpetrators now currently in jail.
Her Pulitzer Centre (USA) recognised work on gender based violence during the height of COVID-19 contributed in no small way in the amplification of the issues, which added the required push along with other CSOs, NGOs, for the passage of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP ACT) in Delta State and the promotion of the Child’s Right Laws.
She is also notable for setting up the first ever investigative-driven radio station in Delta State and across the Niger Delta as its pioneer general manager.

As the Convener of LightRay Women in Media Leadership Initiative, through the support of over two hundred and seventy professional women and men in the media industry across Nigeria, Malawi, Congo, Afghanistan, South Africa, Kenya, etc, she began a policy drive that was adopted by the National Office of the Radio Managers of Nigeria (Private) to stimulate the intentional and deliberate decision within newsroom and across the hierarchy of media cooperate governance to give more women journalists leadership responsibilities to close the leadership gap.

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During the course of her career, she has mentored directly and indirectly over three thousand mentees.

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