Attacks On The Media In January 2002
Minister Assaults Journalist
Nigeria's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Alhaji Sule Lamido
December 8, 2001, assaulted a journalist in Kano, injuring him severally,
for asking a question that the minister considered uncomfortable.
The journalist, Mallam Askita Aliyu, who is the Daily Times
correspondent in Kano, had accosted the minister at five Star Hotel, Tahir
Guest Palace, where the minister had lodged during his visit to the state
and sought to clarify certain information from the minister. Aliyu met the
minister amidst party cohorts and top government functionaries in Kano.
The information, according to Aliyu, was that the minister
had demolished his residence and was rebuilding it at a cost of N360
He reportedly began to abuse the journalist who explained
that he was only performing his duty by investigating, and hoping to
clarify the truth or otherwise of the information.
The journalist's explanations seemed to infuriate the
minister who pulled off his babanriga (gown), charged through the
gathering and pounced on the reporter.
The journalist was rescued from the minister's continued
assault by the Kano State Commissioner of Commerce and Tourism, Yusuf
Baita, and the National Youth Wing leader of the PDP, Alhaji Aliko Koki.
Aliyu is also the chairman of the correspondents' chapel of
NUJ in Kano.
Government House Policemen Assault Journalists
Policemen attached to the gate of Ondo State Government
House, on December 17, assaulted three journalists, whom they threatened
to kill. The reporters are Babatope Okeowo, Emmanuel Adegha and Yemi Idris
of The Comet, Anchor and Voice of Ekiti newspapers
respectively. They were assaulted and detained temporarily at the
Government House Gate-house.
The journalists, returning from an assignment, had noticed
a scuffle between the policemen and some commercial motor-bike riders
popularly known as Okada, who alleged that the policemen had demanded a
bribe of N20 form one of them.
However, the policemen said that the Okada rider was
obstructing the convoy of Governor Adebayo Adefarati. The journalists
attempt to investigate the allegation and counter allegation did not meet
the approval of the policemen who became hostile. They arrested and
detained the journalists. They later released the journalists when they
realized that the journalists were determined to complain to higher
Governor's Aides Threaten Journalists
Journalists in Enugu State have alleged threat to the
practice of their profession by aides of the State governor, Chimaroke
Nnamani. They, therefore, petitioned the House of Representatives saying
that they "are no longer free to practice our profession due to instant
threats and banning of journalists in Enugu State."
The petition signed by Messrs. Uche Maduemesi and Acho
Ugochukwu, chairman and Secretary respectively of the Correspondent Chapel
of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), were addressed to Chijioke
Edeoja, Chairman, House Committee on Information. They complained that
journalists in the state could no longer freely practice their profession
having incurred the wrath of the state government. They alleged that the
state government officials accused them of slanting their reports against
the governor. They claim that “the governor's penchant for reflecting only
his own views and sing his praises” has thus put him and some journalists
who refuse to abide by his 'one way traffic' at cross purposes and has
consequently embarked on crude and undemocratic means to whip them into
The journalists declared that they were "appalled by this
ugly trend of events in the face of the present democratic dispensation,”
and added that "there are mature, responsible and civilized means of
seeking redress, and in our case, the Nigerian Press Council (NPC) which
can discipline erring journalists is in place."
Alameiyeseigha Threatens Workers
Who Divulge Official Secrets
Bayelsa State governor, Chief Diepreye Alamieyesigha during
the month threatened to deal decisively with civil servants and public
officers who divulge classified information. Claiming that such action
could be injurious to a State, he said the disclosure of "top secret"
information is tantamount to treasonable felony.
The governor warned that he would invoke the relevant
provisions of the civil service rules and regulation as well as bring the
full weight of the law to bear on defaulters. He warned that ignorance
would not be accepted as excuse.
Security details to Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu,
severely beat up a photo journalist during the burial of assassinated
minister for justice chief Bola Ige. The security men also broke the
The photo journalist was in the process of taking shots of
scenes and persons at the burial ceremony when he was attacked. The
security details did not explain to the journalist the reason they attack
him. But commenting later Gov. Tinubu defended his aides saying they were
doing their job because the camera man could have been an assassin.