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Nigerian journalists, rights activists, citizens protest murder of Jamal Khashoggi
Nigerian journalists, rights activists and citizens came out on Friday afternoon to protest the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, in Abuja.
Following the worldwide outcry for justice for the slain journalist, newsmen from various media organisations and members of civil society marched peacefully to the Saudi embassy in Abuja to register their discontent against the government of Saudi Arabia.
Khashoggi went missing on October 2, after he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey to acquire papers for his upcoming marriage.
After investigations, 18 men who have direct relations with Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince were identified as the killers of Khashoggi.
The event, organised by a Coalition of Nigeria Media and Civil Society Groups, kicked off from Nicon Junction Bus stop, at the beginning of Alvan Ikoku Street, Maitama Abuja. The journalist then walked in procession to the Orange Close where the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia is located.
In attendance were journalists and rights activists from media houses that include The ICIR, The Cable, The Guardian, Premium Times, Radio Nigeria and the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) and others.
The protesting journalists and activists chanted various classic songs of struggle and resistance in tribute to their professional colleague who was brutally murdered, according to evidence presented by the Turkish government, for criticizing the government of his country in his opinion writing.
“Solidarity forever, solidarity forever, solidarity forever, justice for Khashoggi,” they sang.
The convener of the protest, Peter Nkanga, described the killing as “wicked” and “evil”. He said in a letter read to the authorities of Saudi Arabia, that the murder of Khashogggi is similar to the assassination of Dele Giwa, a Nigerian journalist killed by a letter bomb in 1986. Their assassinations were allegedly state-sponsored.
Nkanga said the freedom of expression should not be punished by any government anywhere.
“Journalism is not a crime, and journalists and activists are not terrorists.” With the killing of Khashoggi, Nkanga said Saudi Arabia has demonstrated its intolerance for free speech and human freedom.
Amadi Uyi, a journalist from Plus TV said the government of Saudi Arabia has turned diplomatic relations into a joke because a consulate should be a refuge, and not a killing zone.”
Deji Adeyanju, Convener of Concerned Nigerians, said the killing of Khashoggi should herald the era of change in journalism all over the world.
He said it is time that journalists take a greater interest in reporting about tyrannical government like Saudi, and others like Saudi in other places. The impunity against journalists should come to an end, he said.
“We are using this platform to call on the government of Nigeria and the world, in general, to demand justice for Khashoggi”.
The group also paid respect to colleagues who had lost their lives in the fight against corruption and injustice, noting that the media and journalists are the bedrock of any democracy and the freedom to express their opinion should not be a death penalty.
The officials of the Saudi embassy made no comment and refused to come outside the consulate to address the aggrieved journalists. Instead, they hid behind the wall to video the protesting journalists.