Int’l Agency Chides Malami for Misrepresenting Facts on Attacks on Nigerian Journalists - 9japarrot


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Saturday 29 April 2023

Int’l Agency Chides Malami for Misrepresenting Facts on Attacks on Nigerian Journalists


By Nurat Uthman

An international agency tracking attacks on journalists globally, the Committee for the Protection of Journalists, has berated the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, following his misrepresentation of CPJ’s data on attacks on journalists in the country.

Recall that Malami while speaking after the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja claimed ”not a single incidence of death of a journalist has been recorded in Nigeria arising from infractions, relating thereto.”

While also citing a report by CPJ, Malami described “Nigeria as the only African country that has been in full compliance in terms of the protection of the rights of the journalists.”

But CPJ, in a statement issued on Friday, urged the minister to revise the statements because it falsely characterises CPJ’s research on the press freedom situation in the country.

CPJ noted that its research on attacks, prosecutions, and harassment of journalists shows that at least 24 journalists have been killed in the country since 1992 including 12 journalists who were confirmed to have been killed in connection with their work.

CPJ’s Africa program coordinator, Angela Quintal, said: “CPJ’s research on press freedom in Nigeria, showing years of attacks on members of the press—including killings—strongly contradicts comments by Attorney General and Minister of Justice Abubakar Malami about the press freedom situation in the country.

“Malami’s misrepresentation of CPJ research is particularly alarming and tragically ironic given how frequently Nigerian journalists are accused and prosecuted for distributing alleged falsehoods.”

The statement further chronicled the previous mischaracterisation of CPJ’s works by Malami and the ministry’s spokesperson, Umaru Gwandu.

In his defence, Malami, after he was contacted by CPJ, promised to “review” the statements, adding that “our conclusion is based on your reports as released. You may wish to refer to your previous releases establishing the same position.”

According to the statement, CPJ also reached out to presidential spokesperson, Garba Shehu, who requested CPJ to provide details of government involvement in the killings of journalists.

When furnished with details of the deaths of Okezie Amaruben in 1998, Fidelis Ikwuebe in 1999, Precious Owolabi in 2019, and Onifade Emmanuel Pelumi in 2020 linked with the involvement of government machinery, Shehu said, “I work as spokesman to the president,” adding that Malami could speak for himself.

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