Nigeria remains one of the most dangerous places to work for journalists

Journalism

Yesterday, journalist Maxwell Nashan lost his life.

Nashan worked with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) and was preparing for his wedding in Vunokilan, in the Girei Local Government Area of Adamawa state when he was abducted by unknown men and carted away from his family. When he was eventually discovered, he had been violently attacked and left for dead. None of his possessions were taken in the attack and no reason was given for the attack. But Maxwell Nashan remains dead all the same.

Across the nation in Osun state, Alfred Olufemi, another journalist was detained by the Zone 11 precinct of the Nigerian Police, over an investigative report he had made nearly 6 months before, about an Islamic cleric who had been allegedly exposed as a rapist who sexually assaulted a 16 year old minor. Olufemi was arrested and detained for 6 hours, bullied and harassed to delete any evidence of their forced detainment.

These are just two incidences in 2019 of Nigerian journalists facing harassment, violence and even death while they honour their commitments to speak truth to power.

 

In 2019, Amnesty International drew attention to the increasing violence and harassment targeted at Nigerian journalists, highlighting the refusal of the Nigerian government to address these incidences and definitively rebuke them. But it is hard for the government to act when even it has been accused of being responsible for these incidences. After months of scrutiny, the Department of Secret Services finally announced that it didn’t have Nigerian journalist Dadiyata in its custody. The journalist was abducted in front of his home in Barnawa, Kaduna state and hasn’t been heard from since.

Journalism is the only tool Nigerians have to hold their government accountable, and if journalists are gagged then Nigerians are left at the mercy of an unresponsive leadership. We cannot allow that happen. We must all speak up in support of journalists and demand more accountability from the government.

 

While in custody, a police officer bullied the two reporters and forced our correspondent to delete pictorial evidence of his colleague writing a statement at their office.

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