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Armed state security agents on October 24, 2013, in the commercial capital, Lagos, barred journalists from covering the arraignment of 17 suspected members of the Boko Haram militant group on charges of conspiracy to commit terrorism, illegal possession of firearms, and being members of a proscribed organization, according to news reports.

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.

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