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HURIWA asks world leaders to save Nigerian journalists from harassment, attacks

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Emmanuel Onwubiko


• Says climate of fear now pervades media industry

Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has urged world leaders to intervene by asking President Muhammadu Buhari to order his officials and security forces to halt the harassment and physical attacks on journalists for writing stories allegedly considered as politically-injurious to the Federal Government.

HURIWA also asked media owners and the professional bodies, such as Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) and the Newspapers/Media Houses Proprietors Association of Nigeria, to immediately activate mechanisms to implement transparent and accountable Life Insurance policies for media workers so as to cushion the pains of the immediate family members losing their breadwinners in the line of duties.

The rights group said the recent killing by the police in Abuja during a public demonstration of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) where journalists were killed is totally condemnable.

Besides, HURIWA has absolutely condemned the alleged invasion by Department of State Services (DSS) operatives of the home of the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, Muskiliu Mojeed and the intimidation and harassment of his wife, Mrs. Haulat Mojeed.

The rights group, in a statement yesterday by its National Co-ordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, said the attempt to force the reporters of Premium Times to disclose their sources of the exclusive story on the rift between the National Security Adviser and the Chief of Staff to the President over the ongoing counter-terror war was unconstitutional and smack of a return to the dark days of dictatorship and military regimes.

HURIWA said: “If the DSS or the Presidency feels bad about how the letter got leaked, then let it go to court. By the way, the Freedom of Information Act permits the journalists to ask and receive such information in the national interest whether in form of a written request or verbal.

“On no account should Premium Times or indeed any media house be harassed for doing what the Constitution in Section 22 tasked them to do. So, why the manhunt?

“Those who should be sacked are either the NSA or Chief of Staff to the President who have reportedly constituted a clog in the wheel of any sort of progress in the counter-terror war.

“We ask world leaders in United States (U.S.), United Kingdom (UK), Australia, Canada and European Union (EU) to save the Nigerian media from the pervasive climates of fear.”

“The use of intimidation, arbitrary arrest and obnoxious sentencing for carrying out the duties of informing and educating Nigerians has made the practice of media profession a highly dangerous job and the good journalists have become endangered species, including civil society practitioners in Nigeria.”


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Emmanuel OnwubikoHURIWA
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