At this point, it has become common place to hear of Nigerian journalists, arrested either by the DSS or Nigerian Army, abducted by unnamed assailants or charged with terrorism or treason for doing their job. Dadiyata, the Kaduna state based journalist stands in stark relief as an example of what happens when order breaks down and the safety of private citizens are no longer guaranteed. The DSS, originally rumoured to have abducted the journalist announced in January that he wasn’t in their custody. Even that is hard to believe considering they said the same about Nigerian journalist Jones Abiri, who was abducted for two years by the DSS before he was released and his abduction acknowledged.
Just a week after the Minister for Information Lai Mohammed went on international television and blatantly lied about the senate’s attempts to gag public speech with a hate speech and a social media bill, and tried to convince the world that General Buhari’s government encourages press freedoms, another journalist has been arrested by law enforcement officers about news reporting. Last week thursday, Olatunji Omirin was arrested from the National Union of Journalists secretariat at New GRA in Maiduguri by Nigerian soldiers acting on the orders of their commander, the Deputy Director of Military Intelligence. He was taken to Maimalari barracks, and kept in detention until his release was negotiated by other journalists who raised alarm, protested and boycotted a publicity event organized by the military for later that day. Omirin says he asked to name his sources for his reports on the true state of the war against Boko Haram, which is illegal and contravenes international protections for journalists in wartime reporting. Amnesty Official has voiced its displeasure over the arrest and violation of human rights, and the government (which has accused Amnesty Official of aiding Boko Haram) failed to respond.
Amnesty International condemns arrest of journalist Olatunji Omirin of @daily_trust by @HQNigerianArmy today in Maiduguri. This shocking pattern of harassing journalists is unacceptable. Nigeria has an obligation to respect & protect the right to freedom of expression.
— Amnesty Int. Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) January 30, 2020
How long will these injustices continue, one can only imagine.