Saturday, December 4, 2021

Nigerian journalists raise press freedom concerns over missing colleague, new attacks

Nigerian journalists are raising renewed concerns about their safety after an Abuja newspaper reporter went missing last month, and journalists were assaulted while trying to cover two major news events.

Missing journalist Tordue Salem’s sister, Torkwes Kuroun, looks at photos of her in a family photo album at her home in Abuja, November 4, 2021. (T. Obizu/VOA)

“He always watches TV with me, he loves the news,” says his missing brother, Torkwes Kuroun of Tordue Salem, as she looks at a photo of him in the family photo book in Abuja.

Salem, now gone for 23 days, is a parliamentary reporter with Vanguard News – an independent Nigerian newspaper. Quraun says that he last saw his younger brother on the morning of 13 October.

“He was in front of the gate when I was leaving, so I just shook hands” [at him]Then after two hours he left for work. I haven’t seen him since then.”

The reason for Salem’s disappearance is not yet clear. Nigerian police officials said they questioned six people last contacted that day, but no arrests have been made, and no one has claimed responsibility for their disappearance.

The issue has raised concerns among fellow journalists. Journalists in Nigeria have, on some occasions, been attacked or even detained as a result of their reports. No one could prove that Salem’s case was work-related.

But this week, as the Nigerian Association of Journalists marked the Global Day for Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, they urged authorities to act urgently on the matter.

Soni Daniels is the regional editor at Vanguard News. “We are all human and we feel sad. We recognize the horror, the mystery, the anxiety. It could have happened to anyone,” Daniel expressed.

This year, Nigeria ranks 120th on the World Press Freedom Index, down five places from last year.

Last month, journalists covering the End SARS memorial procession were assaulted by security agents.

Another group of journalists were also harassed and barred from entering the Abuja courtroom where the trial of separatist leader Nnamdi Kanu was going on.

Adefemi Akinsanya, a correspondent for Arise News, says they protested during a SARS procession at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos state. “I just wondered, did he discharge his weapon[s], even unintentionally, would it have been worth it? Freedom of the press is very important, and I say that is the hallmark of a free and just society and that is what we want from Nigeria, a free and just place.”

Nigerian journalists say that without better treatment of the authorities, the country will be too risky for them to do their jobs.


This article is republished from – Voa News – Read the – original article.

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