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ROLL CALL: Here are 10 Nigerian journalists murdered with impunity in two decades


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TODAY is the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists. The Day was instituted after the UN General Assembly endorsed it in 2013.

The resolution for the commemoration of the day calls on UN member states to implement concrete measures to eradicate the culture of impunity against journalists.

Nigeria is one of the countries where murderers of journalists get away without the authorities ever bringing them to justice.

This year, Nigeria is ranked 13 out of 14 countries in the 2018 Global Impunity Index released by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), making it the sixth time that Nigeria is featured on the index since 2008 that CPJ began to compile the list.

In two decades, murderers of these 10 Nigerian journalists have still not been brought to justice. Here are the journalists murdered with impunity, according to CPJ:

Bayo Ohu

Ohu, 45, an assistant news editor The Guardian, was shot by unidentified assailants as he answered a knock at the front door of his house in Lagos on September 20, 2009. The six assailants took a laptop and cell phone, according to the journalist’s relatives and local news reports.

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He was allegedly killed for his political reporting, especially his investigation into alleged fraud in Customs.  In May 2012, the court freed three suspects charged with Ohu’s murder on the grounds that the prosecution had failed to prove the case.

Enenche Akogwu

Unidentified gunmen shot Akogwu, 31, a reporter and camera operator with Channels TV, as he interviewed witnesses of terrorist attacks in Kano on January 20, 2012. Akogwu had just returned from a police news conference following coordinated bombings by the extremist Islamist group Boko Haram.

Fidelis Ikwuebe

Ikwuebe was a freelance journalist who contributed to The Guardian. He was abducted and murdered while covering violent clashes between the Aguleri and Umuleri communities in Anambra State on April 18, 1999.

It was not clear who was responsible for Ikwuebe’s death. It was alleged that the state military administration at that time was very sensitive about news coverage of the fighting, which left several hundred people dead, and the environment was a dangerous one for journalists.

Nathan S. Dabak and Sunday Gyang Bwede

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Deputy Editor Dabak, 36, and reporter Sunday Gyang Bwede, 39, journalists for the monthly newspaper of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, were driving to an assignment when they were attacked by a mob in Jos, Plateau state on April 24, 2010.

They had chartered a motorcycle to travel to a scheduled interview with national parliamentarian Bitrus Kaze concerning ongoing outbreaks of deadly violence between Muslims and Christians in the area. Dabak and Bwede were stabbed by Muslim youths reacting to the discovery of a slain Muslim individual near a church.

Okezie Amaruben

Amaruben, the publisher of Newsservice magazine, was shot and killed by a police officer in Enugu State on September 2, 1998. Amaruben was checking on a printing job being done for him in a shop when police officers verbally and physically attacked him. One placed a pistol to his forehead and hit him with the gun after he had identified himself as a journalist.

People at the scene told the police officers that Amaruben was not the person they were looking for. He was being forced into a police vehicle when the officer fired his gun and the bullet pierced Amaruben’s skull. Authorities confirmed that the officer who shot Amaruben was arrested shortly after the murder.

Sam Nimfa-Jan

Nimfa-Jan, a journalist with the magazine Details, based in Jos, Plateau State, was killed in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, during ethnic clashes on May 27, 1999. He was on assignment covering riots between the Hausa Fulani and Zangon-Kataf groups that broke out over the installation of a new emir (traditional local leader) in the Jema’a area. Nigerian journalists, quoting local residents, said that Nimfa-Jan’s corpse was found with arrows protruding from its back. Suspicions were apparently high that Hausas had killed him.

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Samson Boyi

Boyi, a photojournalist with the Adamawa State­owned newspaper The Scope, was killed when about 30 armed men attacked the convoy of the state governor, Haruna Bonnie, who was travelling from the state capital, Yola, to the town of Bauchi on November 5, 1999. Boyi was one of several journalists assigned to cover the trip.

Neither the identity nor the motive of the attackers has been determined. When they opened fire on the convoy, the governor’s security guards fired back. Boyi died in the crossfire. His colleague, Umar Mustaphar, a Yola-based reporter with the Nigeria Television Authority, sustained bullet wounds.

Tunde Oladepo

Oladepo, a senior correspondent with The Guardian newspaper of Lagos, was murdered by five masked gunmen, who entered his home early in the morning and shot him to death in front of his wife and children on February 26, 1998. Nothing was removed from Oladepo’s residence, ruling out robbery as a motive. Oladepo was until recently bureau chief of The Guardian’s state office in Ogun and was covering political affairs. Co-workers believe he was murdered because of his work as a journalist.

Zakariya Isa

Isa, 41, a reporter and cameraman for the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), was killed in the Borno State on October 22, 2011. In an emailed statement issued after the killing, Boko Haram spokesman Abul Qaqa said the militants killed Isa “because he was spying on us for theNigerian security authorities.”

Chikezie can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @KezieOmeje

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