Monday, 31 August 2009

Sokoto Govt under pressure to recall suspended journalists

Concerned stakeholders in the media industry in Sokoto State are mounting pressures on Governor Aliyu Wamakko and the state Ministry of Information to recall two journalists of the state radio who were recently suspended by the ministry.

The two journalists, Abdulnasir Abubakar, a news editor and Abubakar Isa, a reporter, of Sokoto State owned Rima Radio were suspended for reporting that the state’s Ramadan feeding programme breached meal specifications given by the state government.

The state council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists in a reaction described as hasty, the decision to suspend the journalists. The state chairman of the NUJ Alhaji Sajo Sayyinna in press statement advised the ministry and management of Rima Radio to, in the interest of fair play and professionalism, reverse the decision. The state council of the NUJ also urged the ministry and management to investigate the various feeding centres in line with what is being provided by government. The NUJ disclosed that the case had already been referred to its ethics and disciplinary committee for necessary action.

Commenting on the suspension order, the chairman, correspondents chapel, Mallam Abdullahi Elkurebe, said in the interest of justice and fair play, the ministry and Rima Radio management should not have just suspended the two journalists but should have looked properly into their report with a view to determine its veracity.

It was further learnt that the two reporters, having visited various centres established for the Ramadan feeding programme, found out that people were not being fed in accordance with the government’s specification in view of the release of N100 million for the exercise designed purposely to assist the less privileged.

Friday, 28 August 2009

My Arrest and Release

I had another brush with Nigerian security agents on wednesday 26th August, 2009 and below are some of the reports about my arrest and release.
My record is gradually increasing...6 arrests by the Police and 3 arrests by the State Security Service...still counting


BBC Reporter Arrested, Freed
August 27, 2009 15:37, 511 views

By Paul Dada

A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reporter, Fidelis Mbah, has explained how he was arrested and later freed by officers of the State Security Service, SSS.

The Nigerian-born Mbah was arrested at the VIP Lounge Press Centre of the Murtala Mohammed Airport, Ikeja, while doing a live telephone interview with the BBC’s London office.

According to him, “SSS detained me today at the airport for about an hour. They claimed I was not authorised to gain access to the VIP lounge press centre at the airport. I was doing a live phone interview with my London studio when they ordered me to stop and locked me inside their office. They seize my phone and ID card and threatened to take me to Shangisha.”

Mbah said it was after the intervention of some journalists, who pleaded with the SSS men, that he was released.



Date Published: 08/26/09

BBC Reporter detained in Lagos

Fidelis Mba, a reporter with the British Broadcasting Service was today arrested and detained for several hours by the State Security Operatives, SSS, in Lagos.

Mba who was conducting an interview at the VIP wing of the Lagos Airport was almost wisked away to Shangisha, the dreaded detention camp used to torture journalists and pro democracy activists by the late General Sanni Abacha.

He was later released after scores of journalist pleaded on his behalf. His identification card and other valuables were seized.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Journalist Alleges Threat to Life

The South-South Bureau Chief of Champion Newspapers, Mr. Tony Ita Etim, has written a protest letter to the Commissioner of Police, Rivers State Command, Mr. Bala Hassan, alleging threat to his life by some suspected Islamic extremists.

In the letter dated August 12, 2009 to the police chief, the journalist said, ''i write to intimate you that I have been receiving several telephone calls from a section of the society who claimed to be Moslems threatening to beat me or kill me''.

According to him, ''these calls came in Friday July 31, 2009. The callers are claiming that they are reacting to an article titled DRUMS OF WAR which was published in my column called AKPANIKO. Though most of the callers have hidden their numbers, some callers’ numbers were opened and these numbers are 08039266105, 08036388469 and 07030803077' '.

''On Tuesday, August 11, 2009''; he went on, ''a new dimension was added when a caller with number 084764210 threatened to send assassins after me. He alleged that in 2003 at the New Covenant Anglican Church, Amadi Flat during the child dedication of a staff of AGIP, one Engineer Nwabueze I took his pictures and publish same without his permission; which is a lie''.

''I know Nwabueze and was invited for the said ceremony. I did not attend his child dedication because I was out of Port Harcourt. The first time I went to that Church was when then Rivers State Information Commissioner now Secretary to the Rivers State Government, Mr. Magnus Abe, dedicated his son, Peter. I did not take any picture. My second visit to the church was in 2008 when the Chairman of the Federated Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Mr. Lawson Heyford held a thanksgiving service for his wife, Bright, who survived a cancer operation. Also I did not take pictures because I didn’t own a camera as at that time'', he said in the letter.

Continuing, he added, ''i would appeal to you to use your good office to investigate these callers, their motives as well as arrest and prosecute them. I am a law abiding citizen of this country and if in the course of my duty as a reporter anybody is aggrieved with my opinion, such persons have the right to go to court and seek legal redress than resort to threat of violence and assassinations.

''Sir, I would also ask for police protection as I have been observing strange faces trailing me and coming to my office under the guise of doing one business or the other and at the end they end up not doing anything rather than waiting and asking for names of my colleagues in a bid to identify who among them is Tony Ita Etim.

''Sir, I count on your assistance as my life is in danger.''

In the mean time, Journalists for Niger Delta (JODEL), a media group concerned with the affairs of Nigeria's oil and gas region has warned that any harm to the journalist could trigger a religious conflict that will further worsen the situation in the Niger Delta.

An official of the media group, Mr. Daniel Abia, told our correspondent on telephone on Saturday that they are confident that Mr. Hassan, the police boss, will not allow the threat to the life of the journalist, to degerate.

''While we are watching the situation, JODEL will like to say at this point that we have confidence in the competence of the commissioner of police to handle the matter'', Mr. Abia said.