ECOWAS Court Hears Suit On 19 Slain Nigerian Journalists
The ECOWAS Community Court of Justice in Abuja will on May 19 hear the suit filed by the Media Rights Agenda (MRA) seeking to compel the Federal Government to investigate the killing of 11 journalists which occurred between 1998 and 2019.
In a statement made available to newsmen, MRA lamented that no one was ever charged or prosecuted for any of the killings.
The deceased journalists, over whom MRA lodged the suit, include Bureau Chief of The Guardian Newspaper’s Ogun State office, Mr Tunde Oladepo, killed in Abeokuta on February 26, 1998 by gunmen who entered his home early in the morning on that day and shot him dead in the presence of his wife and two young children; Publisher of Newsservice Magazine, Mr Okezie Amauben, reportedly arbitrarily shot and killed by a police officer in Enugu on September 2, 1998; a freelance journalist for The Guardian Newspaper, Mr Fidelis Ikwuebe, who was abducted and murdered on April 18, 1999, while covering violent clashes between the Aguleri and Umuleri communities in Anambra State; Mr Sam Nimfa-Jan, a journalist with Details Magazine in Jos, Plateau State, whose body was found with arrows in his back in Kafanchan, Kaduna State, on May 27, 1999, after covering riots between Hausa Fulani and Zangon-Kataf groups; and Mr Samson Boyi, a photojournalist with the Adamawa State-owned newspaper, The Scope, who was killed by armed men on November 5, 1999, while on assignment to cover a visit by the then state governor, Mr Boni Haruna, to the neighbouring Bauchi State.
The others are Mr Bayo Ohu, then an Assistant News Editor with The Guardian Newspaper, shot by armed men in his home in Lagos on September 20, 2009; Mr Nathan Dabak, Deputy Editor, and Mr Sunday Bwede, reporter, both with the Light Bearer, a monthly newspaper owned by the Church of Christ in Nigeria, who were attacked and killed by a mob in Jos on April 24, 2010, while on a reporting assignment; Mr Zakariya Isa, a reporter and cameraman with the Nigerian Television Authority, killed on October 22, 2011, and for which Boko Haram reportedly claimed responsibility when its spokesman, Abul Qada, was quoted as saying that the militants killed him ‘because he was spying on them for Nigerian security authorities’; Mr Enenche Akogwu, a reporter and camera operator with Channels Television, killed in Kano on January 20, 2012, by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members; and Mr Precious Owolabi, a National Youth Service Corps member serving his primary assignment as a reporter with Channels Television, who was shot and killed in Abuja on July 22, 2019, while covering a protest by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria, resulting in a confrontation with the Nigerian Police.
The suit was filed on August 16, 2021, on behalf of MRA by Abuja-based lawyer, Mr Darlington Onyekwere, leading Ms Chioma Nwaodike, Ms Obioma Okonkwo and Mr Sideeq Rabiu, against the Federal Government.