Attacks On The Media In April 2000
TheNEWS Magazine Alleges Threat By IBB
The management of Independent Communications Network
Limited (ICNL), publishers of PM News, an evening tabloid; TheNEWS and
Tempo magazines on April 13 alerted security agents and Nigerians that
Nigeria’s former military president, General Ibrahim Badamosi
Babangada is threatening it over the publication of an alleged multi
billion-dollar scam in its April 17, 2000 edition.
Editor-in-Chief of TheNEWS magazine, Mr. Bayo Onanuga,
issued the alert in a press statement. He said that various sources close
to General Babangida had called the ICNL office to warn it to be prepared
for series of attacks on him, his editors and workers and their interests.
TheNEWS magazine in the said edition alleged that findings
of Nigeria’s soccer star based in London, John Fashanu, showed that
General Babangida was involved in a scam of debt buy-back amounting to
several billions of dollars.
Mr. Onanuga in his statement said: “Apparently, this
publication irked General Babangida. In the last three days, two different
sources close to Babangida called us independently warning us to be
prepared for a series of attacks from Babangida and his agents. Some of
the attacks may be physical, some may not.”
Youths Attack Vanguard Correspondent
The Warri (Delta State) Correspondent of the Vanguard
newspapers, Mr. Neville Omorighoye, was on April 15 attacked by eight
Isoko youths in Warri for reporting the findings on the alleged toxic
waste dumped at Ozoro by Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited.
Ozoro is an Isoko town, one of the communities in Delta State where crude
oil is prospected.
The investigation conducted by the Federal Government,
Shell Petroleum Development Company Limited and medical doctors who are
indigenes of Ozoro town, dismissed claims by the community that the waste
Shell dumped in its environs was toxic adding that “there was no
significant impact on the health of the host community.”
Mr. Omorighoye reported that the youths stormed the Warri
main office of Vanguard and inflicted injuries on his forefinger with
knives to deter him from writing any more stories on the Ozoro toxic
Lagos Legislators Lambast Journalists
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly on Monday
April 17, 2000, lambasted journalists who they accused of being jealous
and envious of them. Their major grouse was the cover story of TELL
magazine April 24, 2000, edition captioned: Legislators Loot the Treasury.
The story tells of how the legislators in the states votes
millions for themselves through blackmailing their Chief Executive. One
such instance is the report that the 40 legislators allocated N25million
to themselves as constituency fund.
The legislators accused the media of sensationalism,
strongly condemning what they called “calculated attempt to discredit the
State House of Assembly and tarnish its integrity.”
According to a lawmaker, Hon. Hassan Adefarasin, “…these
pressmen are envious of us, otherwise I see no reason why they should be
writing about cars, dressing allowance and constituency fund, insinuating
that we are busy sharing money here everyday.”
The House Chairman on Information, Hon. Tunde Oyewo, on his
own urged the house not to hesitate to deal legally with media
organisations found blackmailing it.
Journalists Harassed At Monarch’s Palace
Overzealous security men in the entourage of President
Olusegun Obasanjo on April 19 bundled out over 20 journalists from the
palace of the Alake of Egba land, Oba Oyebade Lipede in Abeokuta, Ogun
State. President Obasanjo who was in Abeokuta paid a courtesy call on the
The journalists who went to the palace to await the arrival
of the President were ordered out of the palace by the security men who
told them they had no business being there.
While trying to explain the need to cover the visit, the
stern looking, fully armed security men ordered them out threatening to
deal with the journalists if they didn’t comply.
After the journalists vacated the palace, it was locked
against them. It took the intervention of the Ogun State Governor, Chief
Olusegun Osoba, before they were allowed back into the palace.
Two Men Arrestad For Sedition
Two men identified as Adeoye Jeje and Wale Oyenusi were on
April 22 arrested by policemen at the International Trade Fair Complex,
along Badagry Road for allegedly being in possession of seditious
publications and for unlawful assembly.
The men and 149 copies of the said seditious publication
entitled: The Guerilla Invasion seized by the police, were taken to Festac
The Lagos State Police Commissioner, Mr. Mike Okiro who
confirmed the arrest said the men would soon be charged to court. As at
press time, the backgrounds of the men were not known.