A total of seven killings remain unresolved in the Nigerian media industry under the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration. That is according to a 2021 independent press freedom report published and unveiled this week by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
According to the report, “…four journalists were killed in separate incidents with no credible inquiry yet to find the culprits and their motive for the fatal attacks. The four were Ikechukwu Onubogu, a cameraman with the Anambra Broadcasting Services, Lawrence Okojie of the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) in Edo State, Famous Giobaro, a desk editor with Glory FM in Bayelsa State and freelance broadcaster, Abdul Ganiyu Lawal in Ekiti State.
“On April 11, 2016 around 3am, an unknown gunman kidnaped Tope Kuteyi, the Channels TV correspondent in Owerri from his home. The kidnapper later made a ransom demand of N15million.
“On December 2016, the Department of State Services in Lokoja, Kogi State, arrested Friday Ogungbemi, publisher of Policy and Lawmaker Magazine and detained him without trial.
“This action which was at the instance of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State was another example of how prominent Nigerians react to Media scrutiny.
The report also added that there have been 300 violations, affecting about 500 journalists, media workers, and media houses in Nigeria under this government.
Parts of the report further read: “Politicians have realized that to acquire power, either through legitimate means or through outright manipulations, they need to obtain the connivance of the media.
Executive Director, Citizen Advocacy for Social and Economic Right (CASER), Barr Frank Tietie, reacting to the report at its unveiling in Abuja, lamented that actions like these only bring back unpleasant memories of the long tenure of military rule and the established culture of intolerance against the media when Nigeria recorded her most grievous crimes against the industry.
Also speaking at the report unveiling event, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo, concluded that, the safety of journalists goes beyond killings and physical assault but also include the absence of arbitrary arrest, resorting to exile to escape repression, harassment, destruction and confiscation of equipment and premises, and self-censorship in media.