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Two journalists killed, three imprisoned in the last six years

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BETWEEN 2015 and 2021, two journalists were killed while three were imprisoned, according to data provided by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

Analysis of the CPJ data uncovered that 34 attacks were launched on journalists in Nigeria from 1992 down to 2021.

Consequent on all the attacks, 12 journalists were killed, while 22 were imprisoned. Eight of them were murdered, with three dying on dangerous assignments and one killed in a crossfire.

There have been many casualties since 2015 

In 2016, Jones Abiri, publisher of  Weekly Source was imprisoned on the grounds of ‘anti-state and retaliatory,’ activities  while Friday Ogungbemi of Policy and Lawmakers was imprisoned for ‘defamation.’

READ ALSO: “Investigative media, citizens’ participation critical in tackling corruption,” says MacArthur Africa deputy director

In 2019, Channel TV reporter, Precious Owolabi Channels TV was killed while undergoing a dangerous assignment, and Agba Jalingo of Cross River Watch was imprisoned on multiple charges of ‘anti-state,’ ‘defamation’ and ‘false news.’

While undergoing a dangerous assignment in 2020, Onifade Emmanuel Pelumi of Gboah TV lost his life when he was 20 years old.

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A history of stifled voices (1995 – 1999)

The loss of lives and the incarceration of pressmen and women in Nigeria did not start today.

During the military regime, characterised by major human rights abuses, Olufisayo Alabi (Osun Voice), Chris Mamah (The Week) and Godwin Agbroko (The Week) were imprisoned without charges.

Ben Charles Obi (Weekend Classique), George Mbah (Tell),  Kunle Ajibade (TheNEWS), Christine Anyanwu (The Sunday Magazine) and Onome Osifo-Whiskey (Tell) were imprisoned on being ‘anti-state.’

George Onah (Vanguard), Moshood Fayemiwo (Razor), Mohammed Adamu (African Concord), Adetokunbo Fakeye (PM News), Soji Omotunde (African Concord) and Jenkins Alumona (TheNEWS) were all imprisoned without any charge.

In late 1997, Akin Adesokan (Post Express) was also imprisoned on no grounds.

Rafiu Salau (TheNews/Tempo/PM News Group) and Babafemi Ojudu (TheNews/Tempo/PM News Group) were imprisoned without any actual charge. At the same time, Niran Malaolu (The Diet) was thrown into jail on the grounds of being ‘anti-state and retaliatory.’

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Some had to pay the ultimate price

It was a more gloomy situation for Tunde Oladepo (The Guardian), Okezie Amaruben (News service) and Fidelis Ikwuebe (Freelancer), who were murdered between 1998 to 1999.

Sam Nimfa-Jan (Details) lost his life while undertaking a dangerous assignment. Samson Boyi (The Scope), however, was killed in a crossfire.

2005 -2012

Even with the return to democracy in May 1999, there have been more attacks on journalists.

The imprisonment of Owei Kobina Sikpi (Weekly Star) happened in October 2005 on false news.

From 2009 to 2012, the following journalists were murdered: Bayo Ohu (The Guardian), Nathan S. Dabak (The Light Bearer), Sunday Gyang Bwede (The Light Bearer), Zakariya Isa (Nigeria Television Authority) and Enenche Akogwu (Channels TV).

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