The Nigeria Prize for Science and The Nigeria Prize for Literature are sponsored by Nigeria LNG Limited. The prizes are aimed at bringing Nigerian scientists and authors to public attention and celebrating excellence in scientiﬁc breakthroughs and literary accomplishments in the nation.
NLNG believes that the science prize will provide leaders with answers to crucial issues in development; improve the standards of living and re-energise the scientiﬁc community to seek solutions to national problems. With The Nigeria Prize for Literature, it is expected that the quest for a prestigious prize will improve the quality of writing, editing, proof-reading, and publishing in the country with far-reaching positive effect on print and broadcast journalism.
The prizes are administered, on behalf of Nigeria LNG Limited, by the Nigerian Academy of Science and the Advisory Board for Literature made up of members of Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL) and the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA). Winners are announced in October, commemorating the ﬁrst export of LNG cargo by NLNG on October 9, 1999.
At inception in 2004, the monetary reward was USD20, 000, which was increased in 2006 to USD30, 000. In 2008, it was again upped to USD50,000. In 2011, yet another signiﬁcant change in the administration led to the increment of the monetary reward to USD100, 000 for each of the prizes.
In 2004, Professor Akpoveta Susu and his then doctoral student (now doctor) Kingsley Abhulimen, both of the University of Lagos, won the maiden edition of the science prize. They won based on their work Real-Time Computer Assisted Leak Detection/Location Reporting and Inventory Loss Monitoring System which was described by the judges as an outstanding contribution to research in real-time leak detection in a network of pipelines, or other ﬂow systems, carrying liquids. That year, there was no winner for the literature prize (Prose Fiction). However, three authors, Bina Nengi-Ilagha, Omo Uwaifo and Prof Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, received honourable mention for their efforts.
In 2005, there was no winner for the science prize whilst joint winners emerged for the literature prize which focused on Poetry. Ezenwa Ohaeto and Gabriel Okara were rewarded for their books Chants of a Minstrel and The Dreamer: His Vision respectively.
Professor Micheal Adikwu in 2006 showed in his winning work, Wound Healing Devices (Formulations) Containing Snail Mucin, that snail mucins can play a key role in the pharmaceutical industry as a drug delivery agent. Dr Ahmed Yerima claimed the prize in literature (drama) for his book Hard Ground.
In 2007, as in 2005, there was no winner for the science prize and joint winners emerged for the children’s literature. Professor Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo and Mabel Segun emerged joint winners with their books, My Cousin Sammy and Readers’ Theatre: Twelve Plays for Young People respectively.
Dr Ebenezer Meshida emerged winner of the 2008 science prize with his work Solution to Road Pavement Destabilisaion by the Invention of ‘Lateralite’: A Stabilisation Flux for Fine Grained Lateritic Soils which will make Nigerian roads durable through the elimination of potholes and gullies. The literature prize in 2008 returned to Prose Fiction. Kaine Agary won with her ﬁrst book, Yellow Yellow.
Professor Andrew Nok won the science prize in 2009 for his ground-breaking discovery of the gene responsible for the creation of Sialidase (SD), an enzyme which causes sleeping sickness (Trypanosomiasis). No winner emerged for the literature prize.
The decision of the judges not to award the literature prize in 2009 precipitated signiﬁcant changes in its administration. Nine poets were shortlisted for the literature prize, but by the time the judges were done with their work that year, no winner emerged. This attracted reactions from the Nigerian literary community worldwide. Rising to the occasion as a truly listening company, Nigeria LNG Limited convened a stakeholders’ engagement forum to examine and improve the prize administration protocols. Consequently, the prize was opened up to Nigerians everywhere in the world and the names of the judges, hitherto kept secret, were made public. The Nigeria Prize for Literature has since grown to be Africa’s most prestigious reward for literary excellence. It is ranked among the world’s top 100 in prize money.
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