Adie Venessa Offiong is the Asst Editor, Daily Trust Newspaper and Deputy Editor Kilimanjaro Magazine. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria.
A Fellow, Health system Global 2018, Fellow, Children Investment Fund Foundation on Early Childhood Development Reporting 2018, Venessa ranked No. 3 in 2014 Hala Nigeria/ICFJ story contest on traditional birth attendants.
She has travelled widely, both locally and internationally, for special reports on health, environment, and agriculture, among others.
In the winning story entitled, “Abuja Communities Where Girls Are Raped En route School”, Venessa chronicled the story of girls in Zhiko and Pasepa communities of Nigeria’s Capital Territory, dropping out of schools, as the only way to avoid being raped, and for some, from becoming pregnant.
Two of the girls became pregnant as a result, and now focus on raising their children, as well as fending for them, selling firewood, while another learns hair dressing.
As a reporter, she was motivated to dig deeper and wrote the story after she stumbled on a picture of rural women, captioned “Our Daughters Are Rapped on Their Way to School,” She then got in touch with Action Aid, an NGO, credited for the picture – she then went to the community.
She found it absolutely shocking and knew it was a powerful story that the world needed to hear and also had to change.
Fear of stigmatization and negligence of the authorities, have ensured that perpetuators are not brought to book.
Even though, the community was not enthusiastic for their story to be heard, as they had written several times for government to build for them, a secondary school, gaining the girls’ trust enough to share their stories, was not easy at first, because they feared stigmatization.
Another challenge, she faced, was accessing the communities, especially in the rainy season, which stalled the story from October 2018 to early 2019.
The well told-tale story with detailed interviews, and pictures has brought Interventions from a World Bank funded project to build a road, hospital and school, which has ultimately made an impact on the communities.