Nigerian radio journalist killed in ambush

New York, October 16, 2008–Nigerian journalist Eiphraim Audu was shot by six unknown gunmen near his home on Wednesday in Lafia, central Nigeria, local journalists and the Nigerian Union of Journalists told CPJ.

Audu was a senior radio journalist with the Nasarawa State Broadcasting Service and the chairman of the credential committee of the forthcoming Nigeria Union of Journalist elections in Nasarawa.

“We send our deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Eiphraim Audu,” CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes said. “We urge the inspector general of the national police and the Nasarawa State Police Command to follow all possible leads and ensure that the perpetrators of this crime are brought to justice.”

Gunmen shot Audu after he left his house to visit neighbors after returning from a state function, the general manager of the Nasarawa State Broadcasting Service, Musa Abdullahi, told CPJ. No items were stolen from him or his car, which was parked nearby, said the secretary of the journalists union, Shu’aibu Usman Leman.

A spokesman for the state police, Richard Akoji, told the local press that the police would do everything in its power to find the perpetrators, according to local news reports. Audu’s friends and colleagues are traveling from all over the country to attend a funeral service for him on Friday, the Nasarawa State Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Abubakar Bala, told CPJ.

Audu is the second journalist killed in unknown circumstances in Nigeria this year. On August 17, unidentified gunmen shot Paul Abayomi Ogundeji, a board member of the private daily ThisDay in Dopemu, a suburb of Lagos. According to a report by the Nigerian press watchdog organization Media Rights Agenda, Nigerian police claimed Ogundeji was killed by armed robbers, while an eyewitness claimed the journalist was killed by police.