Maxwell Nashan, a 39-year-old reporter and news anchor with the government-owned Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), was found bound and gagged in Badarisa in the early hours of January 15, 2020, about 2 km from the FRCN office and about 3 km from his home in the Lainde community of northern Adamawa State, according to his employer, colleagues, and a relative, who spoke with CPJ.
Nashan died in hospital later that day, according to Athma Wandani, a FRCN reporter, Anthony Shekara, an assistant head of the news and current affairs department at FRCN, and a member of the journalist’s family, who asked not to be named for fear of reprisal.
Nashan covered the Adamawa State house of assembly, Wandani said. Shekara and Tafawa Hamza Mayo, an Adamawa State house of assembly correspondent for the government-owned National Television Authority, told CPJ in January 2020 they were not aware of any threats against Nashan. Shekara, who was Nashan’s supervisor, said he was not aware of any story that Nashan was working on that could have provoked the attack.
Suleiman Nguroje, an Adamawa State police public relations officer, told CPJ on January 23, 2020, that when they retrieved the journalist’s cell phone they found a message from Nashan saying that his life had been threatened. Nguroje did not provide further details when called the following day.
An individual, who asked not to be identified, told CPJ in February that the journalist sent a message to two people saying he had been threatened in connection to a phone stolen from his home that Nashan was trying to track.
Wandani and Nashan’s relative told CPJ by phone shortly after the journalist died that, based on when neighbors last saw Nashan and markings on the floor and a smashed window, it appeared that he was abducted and dragged from his home around 1 a.m. The relative added that a computer the journalist used for work was missing from his home, but that nothing else appeared to have been taken.
The police public relations officer Nguroje told CPJ on January 17, 2020, that police were working with doctors to determine Nashan’s cause of death.
In a call with CPJ on January 23, 2020, Nguroje said that police had arrested eight suspects in connection with the case. On February 10, 2020 the police spokesperson told CPJ via text message the suspects had been charged and referred to court and that any evidence would be presented to the court. He did not specify the nature of the charges.