National Point holds public lecture, book launch to mark 10th anniversary

Ibiba Don Pedro

Activities to celebrate a decade of existence of National Point newspaper on the newsstands kick off today with a public presentation of books/discussion at Lagos Country Club, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja.

According to the executive director of the publication, African Journalist of the Year Award winner, Ibiba Don Pedro (who was also of The Guardian, Nigeria), she and her team have finalised arrngements for the two-legged event. An anniversary event/awards/first yearly lecture holds at Presidential Hotel, Port Harcourt on November 23, 2017.

In a statement, she said: “From an idea by a small group of activists and public interest journalists in 2007, to set up and professionally manage a newspaper with a vision to provide robust reporting of Niger Delta/South-South persons, places and issues, we have emerged an undisputedly authoritative voice of this important regions development, stability and the prosperity of the people.

“We plan to celebrate this milestone with a showcase of the Niger Delta’s immense treasures – its best people and draw attention to its issue at this critical juncture in country’s history, in a series of events.”

A statement signed by her noted that the lecture, with the theme, ‘Niger- Delta Next Decade: Away with Oil, a way from oil,’ will examine burning issues facing the oil- rich but beleaguered region.

They include youth restiveness, a future without oil, environmental degradation, gas flaring which lead to diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular ailments besides the devastating effects on livelihoods, businesses, social life among others.

“We believe strongly that there’s a need to continously bring these issues to the Public sphere so they can be tackled with the urgency they deserve. In a few decades, oil will become irrelevant as a commodity so what happens to the Niger Delta’s environment then that has been despoiled by over six decades of oil exploitation and exploration activities?  The region will require billions of dollars for its clean- up. Where’s this money going to come from?  These are some of the issues we need to address urgently, “ she stated.

A Niger Delta Women International Resource & Development Centre (NDWIRED) is also scheduled for unveiling at the award ceremony, the statement added.
DonPedro is also an author, environmentalist as well as a media and development advocate. She was one of the Rivers persons honoured, during the 50th anniversary celebrations of the state, in May, 2017 with the Governor’s Medal of Honour, GMH.

Currently, besides managing National Point and pursuing her creative passions running ‘Amaebi Fashions,’ in Lagos and Port Harcourt, Ibiba works on human capital development in the Niger Delta primarily and across the country through the provision of vocational skills training and access to alternative livelihoods for community members in conflict wreaked communities, career counselling and mentoring.

She a Masters Degree in Mass Communication from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, where she was a Chevening scholar in 2002/2003. She has a first Degree in English (1985) from the University of Jos.

She is a Knight Fellow (2001/2002) of the prestigious Knight Science Journalism Fellowships at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, Cambridge, USA where she focused on Ecosystems research, Science, Technology, Health and Development studies.

She began her career in journalism at The Guardian newspapers, from 1993-2002, following which she left to pursue post graduate studies in the UK. She has been, Assistant Editor/Member Editorial Board, Daily Independent, Special Correspondent, New Age.

In 2003, DonPedro was declared “CNN African Journalist of the Year,” for a report that explored the deleterious consequences of oil production on communities in the Niger Delta.

At a breakfast meeting at the WestCliff Hotel, Johannesburg the morning of the awards, she was chosen, along with Edward Boateng founder of the CNN Awards to present a media plaque on behalf of the media in Africa to the ‘Madiba’ , Nelson Mandela.

In 2000, she was declared “African Journalist of the Year” by the African Journalist Foundation, AJF in Johannesburg, South Africa. She has won numerous other awards including Reuters/IUCN prize, for outstanding work on the environment in 2000, Lorenzo Natali prize for excellence in reporting Human Rights, Democracy and Development 2001, given by the European Commission.

She has been visiting lecturer and speaker at numerous international fora across continents on the Media, Women, Environment and Development.

She is author of Out of a bleak Landscape (2005) and
Oil in the water:crude power and militancy in the Niger Delta (2006) publications which explore the turmoil in the oil rich Niger Delta, brought on by environmental degradation, occasioned by the exploitation of fossil fuels and the resultant impoverishment of communities of the Niger Delta .

She is a recipient of numerous honours given by organisations and communities across the Niger Delta for her outstanding work in the area.

Her family roots reach deep in Abonnema Rivers State, Warri, Delta State and Oguta, Imo State.

Constance Meju, the Managing Editor, is unarguably the foremost advocate of gender sensitivity, women/girl-child education and empowerment in the Niger Delta.

She has a Bachelor’s degree in English and a Masters in Communication Arts from the University of Ibadan.

She began her career in the media as a broadcaster after her National Youth Service as a broadcaster with the Rivers State Broadcasting Corporation and left as a principal producer.

Her passion for writing cased a switch to print Journalism. She was one of the livewires of the pioneer colour newspaper in Nigeria, Sunray Newspaper and quickly rose to become the editor of Weekly Sunray.

Thereafter, she set up a women magazine, Amazona and was a key player in The Beacon newspaper from 2000- 2006, before collaborating with the small team of public interest journalists and activists, to set up National Point in 2007.

She has been Vice President (East) Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) twice.

A committed human and environmental rights activist, she chairs the boards of the Centre for Environment Human Rights and Development, CEHRD, a foremost NGO in the Niger Delta and Centre for Environment, Media and Development Commissions, CEMEDEC. She also sits on the board of Kebetkache Women Development and Resource Centre, a major platform driving women development in the region.

She is a respected trainer on women and the media and has presented papers at national and international for a. she hails from Ogwashi Ukwu in Delta State.



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