At least two Nigerian journalists have been killed in 2017, according to data collected by the International Press Centre, IPC.
Another 12 journalists and media organisations in the country suffered various forms of assault including from state actors, the centre which tracks the situation of journalism in Nigeria said.
In a statement to mark the International day to end impunity for crimes against journalists, the IPC called for “urgent justice for all attacked journalists in the country through investigation and diligent prosecution of the alleged perpetrators.”
The group, in the statement signed by Melody Akinjiyan and Lanre Arogundade, programme assistant and director respectively, also advised Nigerian journalists to take safety more seriously.
The group listed the slain and assaulted journalists in its statement.
The slain journalists are Famous Giobaro of Bayelsa State-owned radio station, Glory FM 97.1, who was shot dead on April 16; and Lawrence Okojie of Nigerian Television Authority, Benin, who was shot dead while returning from work on July 8.
Read the full IPC statement below.
INTERNATIONAL DAY TO END IMPUNITY FOR CRIMES AGAINST JOURNALISTS: IPC DEMANDS JUSTICE FOR ATTACKED JOURNALISTS
The International Press Centre, IPC, Lagos-Nigeria, has said there should be urgent justice for all attacked journalists in the country through investigation and diligent prosecution of the alleged perpetrators.
IPC made the call on Thursday as journalists, other media professionals and freedom of expression groups mark the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.
The IPC said it was unfortunate that Nigeria continues to rank high among countries where press freedom and freedom of expression are under threat stating that the database of its Safety Alert Desk reveals not less than fourteen incidents of assault, threat, battery, arrest, kidnap, killing and invasion involving journalists and media institutions within the last one year.
1. Jerry Edoho of Ibom Nation Akwa Ibom State: He was picked up in Uyo by police personnel from the Force headquarters in Abuja on January 6.
2. Nsebiet John of The Ink, Akwa-Ibom State: He was detained for a night in police cell, arraigned and granted bail to the sum of N250,000 on January 6.
3. PREMIUM TIMES, Abuja: The premises was invaded by armed police officers on January 19.
4. Dapo Olorunyomi, Publisher, PREMIUM TIMES and Evelyn Okakwu, Judiciary correspondent: Both were arrested by armed police officers on January 19.
5. Godwin Aliuna of National Mirror, Ebonyi State: He was attacked by alleged armed robbers in his residence on February 22.
6. Famous Giobaro, journalist with Bayelsa State-owned radio station, Glory FM 97.1: He was shot dead by suspected hired assassins on April 16.
7. Samuel Nweze, Publisher of the People’s Leader: He was shot by gunmen in front of his office in Abakaliki on June 2.
8. Charles Otu of the Conscience Newspaper: He was beaten to stupor with dangerous weapons and later abducted by suspected political thugs in Abakaliki on June 2.
9. Lawrence Okojie of Nigerian Television Authority, Benin: He was shot dead by gunmen at 8 p.m. while returning from work on July 8.
10. Amadin Uyi of Silverbird Television, Abuja: He was brutalized by police officers during the protest by Ourmumudondo group at Unity Fountain in Abuja on August 8.
11. Segun Salami of Channels Television, Kogi: He was battered at the state house detention centre by security personnel attached to Kogi State government house on August 28.
12. NUJ secretariat, Abia State: Invaded by Nigerian soldiers of Operation Python Dance on September 12 during which some journalists were assaulted.
13. Wale Odunsi, an editor with Daily Post (online publication): He was reportedly attacked by security officials at the Kogi State government house on October 11.
14. Ikechukwu Ibe of the Daily Trust Newspapers: He was allegedly brutally assaulted by an Army captain at Jabi area of Abuja on October 26.
The Director of the IPC, Lanre Arogundade, said these were unwelcome development deserving the attention of media stakeholders.
“We attach the highest priority to the safety of journalists and other media actors. We oppose any action, legislation, regulation or political pressure that limits freedom of the press. Acts of intimidation and violence against journalists in Nigeria have to end for democracy to survive. Attacks against media institutions and journalists are attacks against democratic rights including the right of the public to know the truth about the way they are governed,” Mr. Arogundade said.
Mr. Arogundade called on the police authorities to make public disclosure on what has been done so far towards unravelling the mystery behind killed journalists in Nigeria.
He also called on journalists and other media professionals to take their safety more seriously by keeping abreast with various safety tips for journalists covering dangerous assignments.