Investigate alleged threat to life of Daily Nigerian publisher, MRA urges FG
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THE Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has called on the Federal Government to investigate the alleged threat to the life of fleeing Daily Nigerian Publisher Jaafar Jaafar.
It said that the government had an obligation to protect members of the media, especially when their lives, safety and security were threatened by government officials.
MRA’s Communications Officer Idowu Adewale, in a statement to The ICIR on Wednesday, said: “As a journalist, Jaafar, has a constitutional right and duty to hold government and its officials accountable. Since he is a Nigerian citizen and a journalist, the Police have a duty on both counts to protect him from any form of harassment or threat as well as any danger on his life or the lives of members of his family and any attempt to prevent him from performing his professional duties.”
He argued that there was no way Jaafar could get or expect any fair treatment in the hands of the Police who had levelled spurious charges of inciting violence and spreading injurious falsehood against their boss, the Inspector General of Police, and were at the same time purporting to conduct an investigation into their own accusations against him, adding that “such a process makes an outrageous mockery of our system of justice.”
Adewale said MRA shared Jaafar’s concerns that the allegations and the invitation to report to the Police for questioning were merely an attempt to lure him into their custody so that they could do him harm.
He, therefore, called on the government to ensure that a thorough investigation was conducted into the threats to Jaafar’s life, with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice and ensuring that no harm came to him. He noted that the Federal Government of Nigeria would be liable under international law for the actions of the Police and any state government that violated the country’s treaty obligations.
Adewale urged the government to live up to its obligation to ensure the safety of Jaafar and other media practitioners, including preventing attacks on them whenever possible and ensuring that all attacks or threats were investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted and punished.
Jaafar has come under threat from Kano State Governor Ibrahim Ganduje since the journalist published video clips in October 2018, showing him allegedly collecting bundles of dollars in a bribery scandal from a contractor.
In an interview with the BBC Hausa Service on March 19, 2021, Ganduje boasted that there were ongoing plans to deal with those who released the videos, following which Jaafar wrote a petition to the then Inspector-General of Police Mohammed Adamu over the renewed threats to his life.
On April 14, 2021, Jaafar received an invitation from the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit to report for questioning on charges of criminal libel based on an allegation that he was inciting violence and spreading injurious falsehood against the IGP.
The journalist has since gone into hiding as a result of fear for his life. Reports say unidentified persons who are likely to be ‘hitmen’ have been stalking him both at his Abuja and Kano residences.