Journalism, a life threatening profession in Nigeria
Nigerian journalists have come under assault in recent times from various security agencies. The journalists’ rights are being infringed upon. These rights are under serious threats under democracy.
On January 6, the Nigeria security services raided the offices of one of Daily Trust, for publishing reports on upcoming army operations against Boko Haram. The story reported a massive military operation that seeks to retake towns in the northeast that had recently been seized by Boko Haram. The paper was accused of “divulging military plans”.
An investigative journalist with Al-Jazeera, Fisayo Soyombo is a victim of injustice against journalists. Soyombo, former pioneer Editor of The Cable, has gone into hiding after publishing a story in The Cable on the bribery and corruption, extortion, framing of the innocent, sodomy and perversion of justice in police cells in the country. The publication which focused on the Pedro Police Station, Somolu, Lagos, also exposed the system and the terrible inhuman living conditions at the Ikoyi Prison in Lagos state. The prison authorities are reportedly asking for Soyombo’s head instead of making the prison conditions better.
An online publisher in Bayelsa State, Jones Abiri’s torment started in 2016. He was arrested by officilas of the State Security Services (SSS) on the accusations of blackmail. He was imprisoned in Abuja without being tried and was later released in 2018. Nine months after his release in 2018 he was arrested again in Yenagoa. He is said to be prosecuted for cybercrime, sabotage and terrorism. On the other hand, Agba Jahugo, Steven Kefas and Segun Onibiyo are also journalists facing the cruel ordeal. These are sad reminders of the Decree 4-under Muhammadu Buhari who was the Head of State in 1984 when Tunde Thompson and Nduka Irabor were imprisoned.
Consistent attacks on journalists and media activists, ranging from physical to verbal assaults, and indiscriminate arrest should be stopped. We urge government to reverse the ugly trend as the Fourth Estate of the Realm are crucial to nation building.
The words of John Adams,United States second president, are pertinent here, “The liberty of the press is essential to the security of freedom
- Akanni-Allimi Kehinde Kaothar. Dept. of Mass Comm. Babcock University. Ilishan . Remo.