The International Press Centre (IPC) has condemned recent attacks on three Nigerian journalists as well as the clampdown on media organisations in the Gambia.
IPC in its recent update report on monitoring of the safety of journalists, revealed that not less than three journalists had been arrested in Nigeria and two private radio stations shut down in the Gambia.
It would be recalled that Teranga FM and Hilltop Radio stations in Banjul, the Gambian capital were closed on January 8 by the Gambian security forces under the instruction of President Yahya Jammeh.”
According to the media monitoring report update by IPC, three Nigerian journalists have been arrested by security forces in recent times:
Nsebiet John of The Ink, an Akwa Ibom-based newspaper on January 6, was detained for a night in police cell, arraigned and granted bail to the sum of N250,000 in Akwa-Ibom over a story he published alleging that the Deputy Governor, Moses Ekpo, “pockets” N250 million monthly as security votes from the state governor.
Jerry Edoho, News Editor of Ibom Nation, a local newspaper based in Akwa Ibom was on January 6 also picked up in Uyo by police personnel from the Force headquarters in Abuja over a Facebook post he published referencing a rumored Dana Air crash and asking his readers to help verify the story.
Daniel Ekiugbo, the publisher of Ugheli Times Magazine, in Delta State who was whisked away from his private residence on October 25, 2016 by a crack team of men of the Directorate of State Services (DSS) is still being detained by the DSS over an article he published on the minister of state for petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu.
The Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade, in a statement, said it was certainly not acceptable in a democratic system of governance that journalists would continue to be at the receiving end of aggression by persons in authority.
“It is quite unfortunate that individuals in authority derive pleasure in being threats to journalists. It is certainly an abuse of power to arrest a journalist or shut down a station because you are not satisfied with what is being published/broadcast, there are better measures to take if you feel discredited,” Arogundade stated.
IPC therefore called on all leaders of Nigeria and the Gambia to use their positions to take quick actions in favour of individuals and organisations affected.
IPC also applauded the NUJ and civil society groups like SERAP and Grassroot Mobilisers who have risen to condemn the act.
The organisation urged other civil activists to continue to condemn and take actions in rising against acts that infringe on not only journalists’ rights, but also rights of the citizens in general.