A human rights organisation, Amnesty International, Nigeria has lamented the increased risks journalists, bloggers and activists are experiencing for publishing articles and demanding accountability from the federal government.
Amnesty Director in Nigeria, Osai Ojigho in a 39-page report unveiled in Abuja on Monday, disclosed that at least 19 journalists have been arrested and detained illegally in 2019 by security authorities in the country.
The report unveiled by the Chairman, Amnesty International, Nigeria, Auwal Ibrahim Rafsanjani, alleged that the Nigerian security forces including the police, army and Department of State Services (DSS) have constantly violated the rights of journalists, bloggers, and activists, which also these government securities do not obey court orders and judgments.
The Amnesty International in the report titled: “Endangered voices; attack on freedom of expression in Nigeria” described as worrisome the increasing threat and human rights cost of receiving and sharing information by journalists.
While describing the development as totally unacceptable, the rights body called on the authorities to immediately put an end to the hostility towards human rights.
“Journalists, bloggers, and activists in Nigeria are increasingly harassed, intimidated, sometimes physically assaulted and arbitrarily arrested by Nigerian authorities simply or doing their job or expressing dissenting opinions.
“At least 19 journalists were detained at various times this year. Increasingly, the human rights cost of receiving and sharing information for journalists, bloggers and activists come with dangerous consequences, forcing journalists, bloggers and activists to operate in a climate of fear.
“Journalists, bloggers, and activists are facing increased risks simply for publishing articles and demanding accountability from the authorities. This is totally unacceptable. The authorities must immediately put an end to this hostility towards human rights,’’ the report said.
The report also highlighted the arrest and detention of some journalists who have suffered as victims to include Jones Abiri, who was arrested and detained for publishing about oil blocks in the Niger Delta; Kofi Bartels, arrested and tortured for filming police brutality and Mary Ekere, assaulted and detained for taking photos of brutality by state officials.
Others also listed include Jamil Mabai, a blogger arrested and detained over a face book post; Saifullah Mikailu, a blogger, arrested, tortured and detained; Ahmed Salkida, stigmatized and harassed for investigative journalism; Samuel Ogundipe, arrested for refusing to disclose his news sources; Premium Times office raided and the demolition of Breeze 99.9 FM, Lafiya and Fresh 105.9 FM, Ibadan amongst others.