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SERAP: 109 journalists were attacked in Nigeria between 2010 and 2015

SERAP: 109 journalists were attacked in Nigeria between 2010 and 2015
March 17
19:40 2020
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The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) says 109 journalists across the country were attacked between 2010 and 2015.

According to the group, 21 journalists were attacked in 2018 out of which seven were unlawfully arrested while two of such attacks were recorded in 2019.

SERAP made this known in a report launched during its interactive session on promoting media freedom and freedom of expression in Nigeria, held in Lagos on Tuesday.

The report was titled: “A downward spiral: How federal and state authorities are tightening the screws on media freedom in Nigeria.”

Speaking at the event, Christopher Isiguzo, president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said there is need for increased advocacy against attempts to stifle press freedom in Nigeria.

He commended SERAP for coming up with such initiative at time when the country’s media landscape has come under several attacks.

“It has not been this terrible in our democratic life as a nation. This is not the best time to be a journalist but we are not going to cave in to the pressure,” he said.

Chris Isiguzo, president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and Agba Jalingo, publisher of Cross River Watch, at the event

Also commenting on press freedom in Nigeria, Agba Jalingo, publisher of CrossRiverWatch, said it is unfortunate that media houses “perceived as opposition” by the government have come under several forms of attacks in the recent times.

“The human rights situation in Nigeria is very bad. We’re on a decline,” he said.

“It’s even worse now than we had under military administration in Nigeria because during the military era, I never saw security men invading a court to arrest people, even when they have been granted bail as it happened in the case of Omoyele Sowore”

He also revealed he has started receiving death threats over his criticism of the administration of Ben Ayade, governor of Cross River state.

The journalist, who was arrested but granted N10 million bail after spending 174 days in detention blamed his incarceration  on alleged illegal deductions by the Ayade-led government from the state’s account.

“I am back home to start from where I stopped and I believe they’ll soon come for my arrest again because few weeks ago, I reported about what Cross River is still doing with the local government funds. I am not going to stop doing that, there’s nothing that will stop me from doing that,” he said.

“In February, they introduced new deduction to the local govt. They are still wondering how I managed to know. One million naira future generational fund from all the 18 local governments and another N2.4 million for community development fund.

“There is also N2.5 million security coverage while N12 million was remitted by all the 18 local governments to the state commissioner of information. All these monies are not captured in the constitution or budget.

“As a matter of fact, one person has already written a petition as regards that to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and also copied SERAP.

“We want to sue Governor Ayade for those deductions. I am not stopping. They’ve started threatening me again. But I am not going to be afraid of the governor. I will continue asking questions. They’ve told me they will kill me and I replied everybody will die.”

In his remark, Adetokunbo Mumuni, Director SERAP, said the event was meant to chart a new course forward for press freedom in the country.

Mumumi, who was represented at the event by Kolawole Oluwadare, deputy director SERAP, said such interactive session has become imperative at a period when several legislation are being initiated to further gag press freedom in Nigeria.

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