TWEET! #KeepingScore #Nigeria must stop censoring, arresting and imprisoning writers and journalists @presgoodluck
All statistics and cases used for the Keeping Score campaign have been selected from the Case List.
CASE LIST 2013: NIGERIA
Killed: motive unknown
Profession: editor of Anambra News, a monthly newspaper in Anambra state Date and details of death: He was shot dead by unknown assailants on the evening of 12 January 2013. Udendu’s brother, publisher of the paper, reportedly received an anonymous telephone call in which he was told to retrieve the journalist’s body from in front of a local restaurant. Local journalists reportedly suspect that Udendu was killed in connection with his reporting. Investigation: According to reports, the state’s police commissioner promised to investigate the murder personally. According to a 10 February 2013 report, Udendu’s family suspect that the gunmen were hired assassins. No further news on the investigation; PEN is seeking an update.
*Taka LAIFYA (‘Rabi’u’):
Profession: Hausa singer Date of arrest: unclear Details of trial: Reportedly on trial before the Kano State Censorship Tribunal for allegedly releasing a blasphemous and uncensored song entitled ‘Barhama Nake Bautawa’ (I Worship Barhama) on 31 May 2013. In the song Rabi’u allegedly says that he worships the founder of the Tijjaniyya sect. The prosecution claims that the production and release of an uncensored song is in violation of Sections 100 (2) and 99(I) (a) of the Kano State Cinematography (Licensing) Regulations Law 2001. Rabi’u pleaded not guilty to the charges. A senior magistrate adjourned the case to 3 June for ruling on the bail application, ordering that Rabi’u be remanded in prison custody. No further news as of 31 December 2013; PEN is seeking to confirm whether he is still detained.
*Tony AMOKEODO and Chibuzor UKAIBE:
Profession: news editor and political reporter respectively for the independent daily newspaper Leadership Date of arrest: 8 April 2013 and 15 April 2013 Details of arrest: Amokeodo and Ukaibe were summoned to police headquarters, along with two colleagues, and were reportedly detained incommunicado at an Abuja police station. Police demanded to know the sources for the article. Prior to their arrest, the police had reportedly visited the newspaper’s offices three times to see the journalists who wrote the story. Date of release: 9 April and 16 April 2013 Details of release: Amokeodo and Ukaibe were released on 9 April, but were required to report to police headquarters daily; their colleagues were released on 8 April. Amokeodo and Ukaibe were then re-arrested and detained on 15 April and taken to the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) headquarters detention facility in Abuja. The journalists were released on bail on 16 April and remained free at the end of the year. Details of trial: On 16 April 2013, Amokeodo and Ukaibe were charged with forgery and other offences, stemming from the publication of a memo reported to be from President Goodluck Jonathan along with a companion article in the paper’s 3 April 2013 edition. The offending article, entitled ‘Outrage Trails Presidential Directive on Tinubu, APC’, reported on public criticism of the president following an article published in Leadership the previous day which provided details of an alleged presidential memorandum in which the president laid out plans to increase petrol prices and sabotage a merger of opposition political parties ahead of the 2015 elections. The president’s office reportedly initially dismissed the article. The journalists stand by their story and believe the memorandum to be genuine. Abuja’s Federal High Court withdrew all charges against them on 2 May, after Leadership challenged the federal court’s jurisdiction to hear the case. On 19 June the federal government’s prosecutor filed new charges, comprising 11 counts, before an Abuja High Court. On 27 June 2013, Amokeodo and Ukaibe appeared in court facing 11 charges including forgery, conspiracy to commit a felony, inciting feelings of disaffection against the president and inducement to commit an office against public peace, amongst others. A court date was set for 16 July. Upon resumption of the hearing, Amokeodo and Ukaibe’s lawyer told the court that he had filed a motion to suspend further proceedings indefinitely to await the end of President Jonathan’s term; the journalists wish to call him to testify as a witness, but are unable to do so while he enjoys the immunity afforded to him by his office. The petition was refused by the Abuja High Court in Kubwa on 29 July 2013. The judge adjourned the trial until 24 October 2013. On 30 July, the journalists’ lawyer reportedly filed a motion to appeal the Abuja high court ruling. On 26 November 2013, the presiding judge reportedly withdrew from the case following the publication of two articles in Leadership on 25 November. The judge stated that he was stepping down owing to the concerns raised in the articles that justice would not be served if he was the presiding judge as he came from the same state as the president. He was the third judge to have presided over the case. No further news as of 31 December 2013.
Profession: publisher of the Desert Herald newspaper and author of FCT Administration: The Rot Within Date of arrest: 4 September 2013 Details of arrest: Mamu was arrested by plain-clothes police and was taken to Kaduna’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), before being transferred to Abuja where he was held at the CID in Garki. He was reportedly held in the same cell as hardened criminals and suspected terrorists. Date of release: On 19 September, the Wuse Magistrates’ Court granted Mamu bail in the sum of N1million (approx. US$6,000) with one surety. Details of trial: He is being sued for criminal defamation and attempted bribery in a case brought by the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the subject of Mamu’s book. A preliminary hearing was held at an Abuja court on 5 September 2013. The hearing was postponed until 9 September and again until 15 October and the trial was ongoing as of 31 December 2013. Health concerns: Mamu was hospitalised following his collapse during the hearing. He is believed to suffer from a health condition for which he is required to take prescribed medication daily but was reportedly deprived of this medication while detained. Background: According to reports, unknown men broke into the Desert Herald offices on the night of 4 September, following Mamu’s arrest, stealing three laptops, one external hard drive, some CDs and official files. Mamu was reportedly arrested under similar circumstances in 2009 for writing articles deemed to “harm the government’s interests”.
*Musa Muhammad AWWAL:
Profession: editor for the weekly Hausa-language newspaper Al-Mizan Date of arrest: 14 February 2013 Details of arrest: He was arrested by armed officers of Nigeria’s Joint Task Force and members of the State Secret Service (SSS) at his home and detained for more than a week. Details of detention: The officers reportedly did not cite a reason for his detention or produce a warrant when they appeared at Awwal’s home and seized his laptop and telephone. Local journalists believe that his arrest was related to the newspaper’s publication on 21 December 2012 of allegations of extrajudicial detentions being carried out by the Joint Task Force. Date of release: 22 February 2013 Background: Awwal has been harassed in the past. On 24 December 2012, he and a reporter from the newspaper, Aliya Saleh, were held for eight days without charge by the SSS in Abuja. Following his release, Awwal was interrogated about the whereabouts of Al-Mizan editor-in-chief Ibrahim Musa, who had reportedly gone into hiding after his home was raided, also on 24 December (see case list June-December 2012).
Profession: chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Details of attack: He was reportedly physically assaulted by a police officer and a State Security Service (SSS) officer on 2 July 2013. Atsaka had reportedly gone to the government house in Makurdi, Benue state, on the invitation of the chief of staff to the governor in order to deliver a letter to him about a planned NUJ Press Week. After being informed that the chief of staff was not there and that someone would collect the letter at the gate, an SSS officer reportedly ordered a police officer to attack Atsaka as he made his way to the press centre to wait, flogging him with a horsewhip as he walked from the gate to the press centre. The police officer was then reported to have been joined by the SSS officer who gave the order, who repeatedly hit Atsaka with the butt of his gun. Security men then reportedly dragged Atsaka from the press centre before trying to force him into a truck, at which point members of the governor’s staff intervened. Background: In an apparently unrelated incident, reporter for The Sun Newspaper, Rose Ejembi (f), was reportedly threatened with a gun by a police officer when she was covering an event at the Benue State House around 12 June 2013.
*Mallam Nasir EL-RUFAI:
Profession: former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory and author Details of harassment: He is facing a lawsuit in connection with the publication of his memoir entitled The Accidental Public Servant, according to reports published on 8 February 2013. El-Rufai was said to be under investigation and may face prosecution over alleged breaches of the Official Secrets Act. The authorities reportedly contend that the sections of the book constitute a mass reproduction of restricted and classified government documents.
*Patrick ODEY, Aniefiok MACAULEY and Aniefiok UDONQUAK:
Profession: reporters for the Daily Trust, Daily Independent and BusinessDay respectively Details of harassment: They were reportedly briefly detained on 6 February 2013 by four men in plain clothes claiming to be police officers. The journalists had made an appointment with the principal of a federal government-run college in Aka Offot in order to discuss allegations of mismanagement at the college, when agents arrived and detained them in the office for two hours. The journalists were reportedly released following intervention by members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists.
Profession: Ogun state correspondent for The Punch newspaper Details of harassment: He was reportedly harassed by the State Security Service (SSS) on 27 May 2013. Olatunji arrived at the offices of the SSS at the director’s request. He was questioned by the director regarding his academic qualifications, work experience and a story published by the Sunday Punch, in which two members of Nigeria’s ruling party alleged that the ex-president maintains a murder squad. Over the course of the day Olatunji was reportedly made to write three statements, give members of the SSS access to his emails and held in an unlit room, deprived of food. He was released approximately eight hours later and asked to report back to the office the following day.