News / Africa

Journalists Face Difficulties in Nigeria

Journalists swarm Nigeria Labor Congress chief Abdulwahed Omar (C) on January 15, 2012 at the state house in Abuja, Nigeria.
Journalists swarm Nigeria Labor Congress chief Abdulwahed Omar (C) on January 15, 2012 at the state house in Abuja, Nigeria.
Jane Labous

Officials at Nigeria's main airport in Lagos have locked a group of foreign and national journalists out of the press center, confiscated their equipment and accused them of posing a national security risk.

Officials of the State Security Service and the protocol department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have threatened the journalists with arrest if they try to recover their cameras, voice recorders and other items.

The press center is provided for the use of journalists at the airport, and local journalists say they have used the facility for over 30 years without problems.

The lockout has now been going on for five days, with no real explanation as to the cause.

Journalists believe President Goodluck Jonathan was uncomfortable with reports about people's movements around the airport, including a picture of one traditional leader using a presidential jet.

Others say the dispute arose after officials tried unsuccessfully to suppress reports about a robbery at the airport Wednesday.

The minister of information, Labaran Maku, says that he is not commenting on this issue.  He was not any more forthcoming with the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).

NUJ president Mohammed Garba says that, whatever the reason for it, the action is unjustifiable.

"We have a social responsibility to the people of this country and we are backed by the constitution," said Garba.  "Therefore, we should not be regarded as a security threat."

Garba went on to express his concern that this is a harbinger of bad news for journalists in Nigeria.

"If there is not any serious reason or base for this action, we will consider it to be part of a deliberate plan by the government to clamp down on journalists," added Garba.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), an American organization that works to safeguard press freedom worldwide, is calling on Nigerian authorities to explain the lockout - and to ensure that journalists are free to carry out their work.

"It is unclear as to why they are being locked out," said CPJ Africa Advocacy coordinator Mohamed Keita.  "Our inquiries have been met with silence and authorities have refused to comment on the matter.  Local journalists believe it is in retaliation to coverage that the government is not pleased with, and the authorities have been quoted in news reports as saying that the journalists cause a national security threat."

Keita said the journalists should be given their equipment back.

"This is totally arbitrary and it is a challenge to the rule of law in Nigeria - at least the authorities should provide an explanation of why they have taken this action," Keita added.

Nigeria has a history of press censorship, despite an abundance of news organizations in the country, especially newspapers.

Political leaders are often suspicious of the press, and military regimes and civilian administrations have often violated constitutional rights to press freedom.  Reporters Without Borders, another media advocacy group, usually ranks Nigeria in the bottom fourth of all countries worldwide in its annual Press Freedom Index.

You May Like

Video On the Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime raids, many feel abandoned by outside world, VOA's Scott Bobb reports More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid