The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) yesterday at an elaborate public unveiling ceremony in Abuja, made a $100,000 cheque (about N46 million) presentation to the winner of the 2016 Nigeria Prize for Literature, Abubakar Adam Ibrahim.
The entry by Abubakar, a blogger and a journalist, was last month adjudged by the jury headed by Prof Dan Izevbaye as the best of the 172 entries received for the award touted as Nigeria’s version of the Nobel Laureate in Literature.
His novel, ‘Season of Crimson Blossoms’ was ironically his first and only published novel.
The author’s cash was co-presented to him by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, John Arkwright, Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, Managing Director, NLNG, Tony Attah and Prof Izevbaye.
He joins the growing list of past winners of the annual literary award since 2004, including Mabel Segun, Gabriel Okara, Ahmed Yerima, Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo, Ezenwa Ohaeto, Esiaba Irobi, Chika Unigwe, Tade Ipadeola, Adeleke Adeyemi, Sam Ukala and Kaine Agary.
Abubakar’s book was a narrative inspired by the ethnic-religious conflicts in Jos, placed within the context of contemporary Nigerian history with its complex and sometimes violent intertwining of politics, religion and culture.
His debut short story collection, The Whispering Trees was long listed for the inaugural Etisalat Prize for Literature in 2014. The title story for that collection was later shortlisted for Caine Prize for African Writing.
Mohammed lauded NLNG for investing in the country’s human resources, particularly those in the creative industry.
The minister, however, lamented the collective failure to protect the intellectual property of the great writers, adding that on no account should any Nigerian author die penniless.
He called for all hands to be on deck in the fight against piracy, which he singled out as one the causes of the creative industry to transit to creative economy.
Attah congratulated Abubakar on his great feat and enjoined him to remain a worthy ambassador and role model to millions of Nigerian youths and writers who look up him for inspiration.