News / Africa

Murder and Death Threats Target Nigerian Journalists from Lagos to Jos

Murder and Death Threats Target Nigerian Journalists from Lagos to Jos
Murder and Death Threats Target Nigerian Journalists from Lagos to Jos

Multimedia

Audio

Nigerian police are searching for the suspects in the killings of three journalists in two separate incidents on 24 April.  Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) Africa program coordinator Tom Rhodes says police so far have not been able to assign motives to either incident.

“In all of these murder cases, the evidence is incredibly murky, and it’s difficult to know if it’s a group or if it’s an individual or a combination of the two.  The only trend which seems to be falling by the wayside is this near-assumption that all of these murders are simply the results of armed robberies.  The facts on the ground simply don’t add up,” he said.

Nigeria ethnic violence. 20 Jan 2010
Nigeria ethnic violence. 20 Jan 2010

In one incident, amid Muslim-Christian tensions in the restive city of Jos, Plateau State, a mob of Muslim rioters killed two journalists, Deputy Editor Nathan Dabak, 36, and reporter Sunday Gyang Bwede, 39, working for the Christian newspaper The Light Bearer.  The pair was covering a flare-up of Muslim rioters reacting to the alleged discovery of a Muslim corpse near a church and were stabbed while riding on a motorcycle to interview a local politician about the uproar.

Murder and Death Threats Target Nigerian Journalists from Lagos to Jos
Murder and Death Threats Target Nigerian Journalists from Lagos to Jos

Also on 24 April, armed gunmen entered the suburban Lagos house of The Nation newspaper reporter Edo Sole Ugbagwu.  They shot him and fled without taking anything.

New York-based CPJ, which tracks assaults and murders of reporters around the globe, conducts its own probes of such incidents and, according to program coordinator Rhodes, heightened political tensions with the government – not necessarily simmering religious tensions in Jos -- are believed to be at the root of the violent deaths.

“The impression we get from a lot of journalists on the ground there is these are actually targeted killings, not necessarily from government authorities, but people that may have previously been in government or have ties to government who want to silence the critical reporting,” he said.

On 28 April, four other journalists who covered the recent dismissal of Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission Chairman Maurice Iwu, received anonymous death threats, which suggest that they, too, would suffer the fate of Nigerian journalists, including Ugbagwu, who were eliminated.  Identical text messages read, “We will deal with you soon.  Remember Dele Giwa, Bayo Ohu, and Edo Ugbagwu?”

CPJ’s Tom Rhodes says Ugbagwu was a court reporter for the Nation, who had not been working on a particularly sensitive story prior to his murder.  Ugbagwu’s brother, Okhlaho, told reporters that he witnessed his brother’s execution by two armed gunmen who drove off in a red Honda without taking any money.

“What makes this case interesting in comparison to the case of Bayo Ohu, who was a news editor for The Guardian, who was also killed in roughly the same Lagos suburb area last year, the police almost immediately passed it off as an armed, violent robbery and took the case as such.  In this case, they are not jumping to that conclusion so quickly, which makes one wonder that perhaps, it is a targeted killing,” he pointed out.

Ugbagwu is the third journalist killed in the Lagos suburbs in less than two years.  In addition to Bayo Ohu, who was shot at his home last September, a member of This Day’s editorial board, Paul Abayomi Ogundeji, was gunned down in August, 2008.  Rhodes says Lagos police have not been able to solve any of the murders.

“In the case of Bayo Ohu, they have five suspects currently in custody, and they have claimed that they have recovered the laptop Bayo Ohu was using.  However, according to journalists, the laptop is not the right one.  So, it’s still in the air whether they’ve arrested the appropriate suspects or not,” he said.

Murder and Death Threats Target Nigerian Journalists from Lagos to Jos
Murder and Death Threats Target Nigerian Journalists from Lagos to Jos

Although the Committee to Protect Journalists finds the process of ranking countries in terms of violence or press freedoms is often subjective and possibly misleading, CPJ recently issued a ranking of countries noted for violent crimes against reporters.  For Africa, he admits there is a good correlation between good governance and how much of a free press a country has.

“We released quite recently the Impunity Index, countries where the unsolved murders of journalists have ranked the highest in terms of the killers getting away with the murder itself.  One of the countries, which lands quite high on the list from sub-Saharan Africa is, of course, Somalia,” he notes, citing the Horn of Africa country’s inadequate justice system.

While Nigeria does not rank among the top 10 worst offenders for impunity, Rhodes says its impunity index is quite high because there have been a host of gradually drawn out, unsolved murders of Nigerian journalists since 1986, when Dele Giwa, the editor and founder of Newswatch magazine, was killed by a mail bomb in his home.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' 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.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid