Journalists attacked while covering protests
Amnesty International condemns the brutal crackdown and arrests of protesters. Once again, Nigerian authorities are using force to violate the right to freedom of assembly. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of all protesters. #NigeriaAt60— Amnesty International Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) October 1, 2020
On 1st October 2020, Nigeria celebrated 60 years of independence. On the day of the country's anniversary, the Coalition for Revolution (CORE) organised protests across the country under the campaign #RevolutionNow. Demonstrators gathered to express discontent over issues of poor governance and increases in electricity and fuel prices. During the protests, police assaulted a photojournalist with Punch newspaper and arrested up to 60 demonstrators.
In an earlier incident on 10th September, Nigerian police detained four journalists and 14 protesters, thereby disrupting a peaceful protest in Ojuelegba. According to police, they had “instructions from above” to prevent the protest, which was organised by the Socialist Party of Nigeria (SPN). Demonstrators gathered to express their discontent with the increase in fuel prices and electricity and the party's deregistration. In response to the crackdown, the SPN condemned
"the unlawful and violent disruption of our peaceful protest by the police and Buhari-led regime”.
It is shocking to note that journalists working tirelessly during the raging pandemic are harassed. Recently, the Ebonyi state governor David Umahi ordered the arrest of Chijioke Agwu, a journalist with The Sun newspapers for reporting on the outbreak of lassa fever in the state.— Amnesty International Nigeria (@AmnestyNigeria) May 3, 2020
- On 18th April 2020, Chijioke Agwu, a journalist with The Sun newspapers, was arrested on the order of Governor David Umahi for a report on Lassa fever in Ebonyi state, which the government claimed violates the state’s corona virus law.
- On 28th April 2020, Emma Bricks Oko, publisher of the online magazine brickswrite.com.ng, was sentenced and fined for filming police officers' violent enforcement of the COVID-19 lockdown in Abuja. He was charged with obstructing the work of the police task force.
- On 19th September 2020, a group of at least 50 people attacked Samson Adenekan and Offem Nathaniel Ubanga, a journalist with the privately-owned Premium Times online newspaper and a cameraman with the online broadcaster GeeTV Africa, respectively. The reporters were filming a group allegedly attempting to bribe people to vote for certain candidates during the gubernatorial election in Iyamho of Nigeria’s southern Edo state.
Civic Space Developments