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Nigeria

2012


This cover story led to the arrest of two journalists in Nigeria. (Al-Mizan)

Abuja, Nigeria, December 26, 2012--Nigerian authorities must immediately release two journalists who have been detained since Monday and allow a third journalist who has fled into hiding to return to his home and work freely, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

In pre-dawn raids on Monday, about 40 armed security agents arrested Aliyu Saleh, a reporter with Al-Mizan, a weekly Hausa-language newspaper, and Musa Muhammad Awwal, the paper's editor, at their homes in Rigasa in the northern state of Kaduna, according to news reports. The agents also confiscated the journalists' phones and money and briefly detained the journalists' wives, news reports said.

(Ozioma Ubabukoh)

Abuja, Nigeria, December 18, 2012--State security agents in Southeast Nigeria blocked a reporter from filing a story Saturday evening about the status of a governor who hasn't been seen for several months. The Committee to Protect Journalists today condemned this act of crude censorship.

At about 11:30 p.m. local time Saturday, seven plainclothes men accosted Ozioma Ubabukoh, a reporter with private media group Punch Newspapers, at the entrance of his home in Trans-Ekulu in the southeastern state of Enugu, according to local journalists and news reports. Ubabukoh told CPJ the men identified themselves as agents of Nigeria's State Security Service (SSS) and seized his telephone before ordering him to take them into his home. Two of the men threatened to "rough him up" if he didn't cooperate, Ubabukoh said. 

Syrian violence contributed to a sharp rise in the number of journalists killed for their work in 2012, as did a series of murders in Somalia. The dead include a record proportion of journalists who worked online. A CPJ special report

A journalist dodges gunfire in the Syrian city of Aleppo. (AFP/Tauseef Mustafa)
Kazeem Ibrahym of The Nation is the latest journalist to be attacked in Akwa Ibom state. (Premium Times)

Abuja, December 10, 2012--Authorities in Nigeria must immediately investigate Sunday's attack on a journalist by a state governor's security operatives and bring the perpetrators to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Two journalists were detained for attempting to visit Gao, a town that Al-Qaeda-linked militants have seized. (AFP/Issouf Sanogo)

New York, December 5, 2012--Malian authorities should immediately return the passports and equipment seized from two international Al-Jazeera journalists who were detained for more than two days over the weekend for attempting to cross into militant-controlled territory, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

(Abubakar Sadiq Isah)

Lagos, Nigeria, November 15, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an attack on a Nigerian journalist on Saturday and calls on authorities to find the perpetrators and bring them to justice.

Three unidentified men attacked Abubakar Sadiq Isah, a reporter for the Daily Trust, outside the town hall in Kwali, a local government area in Abuja, the capital, Isah told CPJ. The journalist said he was covering a public hearing when men began to beat him on his face, chest, and back. Isah said the attack occurred in front of police, who finally intervened and took him to the police station. He said his attackers were not arrested and that he filed a complaint with Umar Ozigi, the police chief. He reported no serious injuries from the attack.

Activists press for secession from Cameroon on October 1. (Le Messager)

New York, November 8, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Cameroonian officials to drop criminal charges against a journalist arrested last month in the southwestern town of Buea for covering a secessionist gathering. The journalist is free on bail but faces a fine and up to six months in jail.

(Desmond Utomwen)

"If a journalist can't fight for his own right, then he has no responsibility to fight for others," Desmond Utomwen, a senior correspondent with TheNews Magazine/PM News, told me after a High Court judge on October 4 awarded him 100 million naira (US$637,000) in special damages from the Nigeria Police Force and Guarantee Trust Bank Plc.

Utomwen's victory represents the largest award for any journalist in Nigeria's 52-year history as an independent nation and sets a clear precedent for the country's beleaguered press.

A radical militant Islamist group released an 18-minute video on May 1, 2012, that threatened attacks on at least 14 local and international news outlets, according to news reports. In the video, Boko Haram, a group seeking the imposition of Sharia law in northern Nigeria, accused the outlets of biased reporting and crimes against Islam and also claimed responsibility for prior attacks on newspapers, news reports said.

Armed men in plainclothes raided the offices of CNN in the commercial capital of Lagos on January 16, 2012, amid nationwide protests over hikes in fuel prices, according to local journalists and news reports.

Nigerian soldiers beat Leadership Newspapers reporter David-Chyddy Eleke, confiscated his camera, and arrested him for taking pictures of the demolition of buildings in Awka, in Anambra State in Nigeria's southeast region on September 6, 2012, according to local journalists and news reports

Benedict Uwalaka after his attack. (Premium Times)

Hardly ever do Nigerian journalists get justice for assaults suffered in the line of duty. But things may be set to change with the case of Benedict Uwalaka, a photojournalist with Leadership Newspapers, who on August 9 was brutally assaulted at a government hospital in Lagos State. The first step toward justice came 22 days later, when Bayo Ogunsola, one of the assailants identified by Uwalaka, was arraigned in court on August 31 on a two-count charge of assault and destruction of the journalist's camera. Ogunsola pleaded not guilty on both counts.

On August 13, 2012, unidentified passengers illegally sitting on and hanging from rail cars of a moving train in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, assaulted two photojournalists for taking pictures of them from a pedestrian bridge, according to news reports

A group of armed men attacked the office of the local branch of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the southern city of Warri on August 7, 2012, according to news reports. The men came with kegs of gasoline and threatened to lynch journalists and burn the office if they were not granted media coverage, news reports said.

Lagos, Nigeria, August 14, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Nigerian authorities to immediately investigate an attack on the grounds of a government hospital that targeted a photographer seeking to cover the release of the remains of June plane crash victims to their families.

Police in Lagos, the commercial capital, assaulted at least 10 journalists and confiscated their equipment on April 4, 2012, according to news reports. The journalists were covering a coroner's inquest into a 2010 traffic accident, the reports said.

Bashir Abdullahi was attacked while covering a seminar. (Bashir Abdullahi)

Abuja, June 18, 2012--Nigerian authorities must investigate the assault on a Nigerian journalist on June 14 and ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. News accounts reported that the attack occurred in the presence of military and police officers who did not come to the journalist's aid.

Reporter Joshua Uma was assaulted trying to get official reaction to this pensioners' protest. (Sahara Reporters)

Abuja, June 13, 2012--A Nigerian journalist was assaulted by an immigration officer in the capital, Abuja, Tuesday, according to local journalists and news reports. Joshua Uma, a journalist with the daily Leadership, was on assignment covering a protest by retirees over non-payment of pensions.

Police shielded parliamentarian and former state governor Bukola Saraki, left, from journalists after he was questioned by a police fraud unit. (247nigerianewsupdate.com)

On World Press Freedom Day last week, Nigeria's Information Minister, Labaran Maku, publicly asserted that the country's media "is one of the freest in the universe." On paper, Nigeria's 1999 Constitution guarantees the freedom of the press to "uphold...the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people." But seven journalists who attempted to put this principle to practice on World Press Freedom Day experienced a different reality -- one all too common for independent journalists working in Africa's most populated nation.

CCTV's East Africa operations are headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. (CCTV)

Will China's quickly expanding media presence in Africa result in a fresh, alternative, and balanced perspective on the continent--much as Al-Jazeera altered the broadcast landscape with the launch of its English service in 2006--or will it be essentially an exercise in propaganda?

Police officers stand in front of ThisDay newspaper in Abuja, which was bombed earlier today. (AFP/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

New York, April 26, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns bombings today targeting two of the offices of ThisDay newspaper in Nigeria. At least nine people were killed and more than a dozen wounded in the attacks, for which the Islamist militant sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility, according to news reports.

New York, March 19, 2012--A Nigerian journalist who has extensively covered the conflict between the government and Islamist sect Boko Haram says his life is under threat.

Ahmad Salkida, an independent journalist, told CPJ that he noticed a white 4X4 Hilux with a Lagos state registration number following him on Thursday for several hours, including to his house in Abuja, the Nigerian capital. He said he has also received phone threats from anonymous callers in the past few days that he believes are coming from government security agents in connection to his contacts with Boko Haram. "They said I am a Boko Haram member, that me and them are not supposed to exist. That they know where I live and they will visit me," Salkida told CPJ.

Nigerian soldiers stand guard in the central city of Jos. (Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye)

New York, February 8, 2012--Nigeria's military has harassed and obstructed journalists trying to report on unrest in recent days, according to local journalists and news reports.

Over 60 journalists reporting from the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos, Nigeria's commercial capital, are locked out of their long-time press center. (AP/Sunday Alamba)

New York, February 7, 2012--Nigerian authorities have locked reporters based at the country's biggest airport out of their press center and withheld their equipment since Saturday, according to local journalists and news reports.

Journalist Enenche Akogwu was shot dead today while interviewing witnesses of a terrorist attack. (Channels TV)

New York, January 20, 2012--A television reporter covering the aftermath of coordinated terrorist attacks in northern Nigeria was gunned down this afternoon, according to local journalists and news reports.

News editor Nansok Sallah was found dead on Thursday morning. (Highland FM)
New York, January 20, 2012--Nigerian authorities should launch a thorough and transparent investigation into the murder of a radio journalist whose body was found on Thursday morning, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Nigerians have been protesting for five days over the removal of a fuel subsidy. (AP/Sunday Alamba)

Protesters in Nigeria are not only angry at their government's New Year's Day decision to eliminate a fuel subsidy -- they are also upset about news media coverage of the citizens' movement, dubbed "Occupy Nigeria," and have taken their protests to local media outlets.

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Killed in Nigeria

10 journalists killed since 1992

8 journalists murdered

7 murdered with impunity

Attacks on the Press 2012

2 News organizations targeted in bomb attacks by Boko Haram.

Country data, analysis »

Contact

Africa

Program Coordinator:
Sue Valentine

Advocacy Coordinator:
Mohamed Keita

East Africa Consultant:
Tom Rhodes

West Africa Consultant:
Peter Nkanga

svalentine@cpj.org
mkeita@cpj.org
trhodes@cpj.org
pnkanga@cpj.org

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