Journalists Against Cancer in Nigeria get four mobile cancer centres

About 8.8 million people die every year from cancer, mostly in low and middle-income countries because cancer cases are diagnosed too late.This is coming as the total annual economic cost of cancer through healthcare expenditure and loss of productivity was estimated at $1.16 trillion (N522 trillion).

According to new guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO), released over the weekend to mark the World Cancer Day on February 4, cancer is now responsible for almost one in six deaths globally and more than 14 million people develop cancer every year, and this figure is projected to rise to over 21 million by 2030.

The WHO noted that cancers, along with diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic lung diseases, are also known as non communicable diseases (NCDs), which were responsible for 40 million (70 per cent) of the world’s 56 million deaths in 2015.

Less than 30 per cent of low-income countries have generally accessible diagnosis and treatment services, and referral systems for suspected cancer are often unavailable resulting in delayed and fragmented care.

Also, Journalists Against Cancer in Nigeria (JaCiN) has made giant strides in their plans to procure mobile cancer centres in 36 states of the federation plus the federal capital territory (FCT) Abuja.

JaCiN at a summit in Lagos to mark the World Cancer Day said they would be taking delivery of four of the mobile cancer centres by the middle of the year for Abuja, Lagos, Asaba and Port Harcourt. It is estimated that each mobile cancer centre is worth over N300 million ($600,000).

JaCiN is a media advocacy group co-founded by Nigerian Guild of Editor (NGE), Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and National Cancer Prevention Programme (NCPP).

An ocular oncologist and coordinator of JaCiN, Abia Nzelu, and National Coordinator of NCPP, Dr. Kin Egwuchim, called for more awareness programmes with immediate intervention in the fight against cancer to stem the death rate.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has decried the lack of biomedical engineering companies to fix broken cancer treatment machines in the country.The National Coordinator, National Control Programme, Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Ramatu Hassan, who made this known yesterday in Abuja, said the country lacked biomedical engineering companies with service centres where spare parts and appropriate personnel are readily available for the repairs and maintenance of the machines.

Federal Government distances itself from arrest of Premium Times’ journalists.

The Federal Government has assured that it will not do anything to stifle press freedom, knowing that a free press is vital to the success of any democracy.


Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who said this in a statement in Abuja, however, argued that the federal government has nothing to do with the recent arrest of Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, publisher of the online newspaper Premium Times, and a reporter working for the paper, Ms Evelyn Okakwu.


Mohammed said the arrests were purely a private affair involving a citizen and a privately-owned newspaper, and such should not be construed as an attempt by the government to intimidate the press.


He said, “We have said it before and we want to re-state it: The Federal Government has no immediate or long-term plan to stifle press freedom. Even the Social Media, with its warts and all, will neither be regulated nor have its operations tampered with,”.

President Buhari should work on mopping up arms in wrong hands – Journalists

Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), a Nigerian media rights group, says the unpleasant situation in southern Kaduna has the potential of “throwing the entire country into a faith-induced mayhem”.

In a letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, the group recommended the launch of an intensive campaign aimed at mopping up arms in the hands of non-state actors across the country.

It also urged the president to create time to visit southern Kaduna, saying such a step will boost the dwindling trust in his government.

JODER counseled Buhari to appeal to northern leaders to organise  an all embracing ethnic and religious conference to deal with the festering crisis in the region.

Adewale Adeoye, executive director of JODER, said it was obvious that the political authorities in Kaduna state do not enjoy the trust and confidence of the disputants in the conflict, which necessitates the need for a third party to intervene.

“The Southern Kaduna crisis is just a metaphor for more crisis that may occur in the nearest future,” read the letter signed by.

“The moral authority of the mediating parties is very weak. There is deep suspicion by all the parties that the government sponsored mediators will not be able to resolve the deep-seated problems.

“One major solution is for the government to embark on a massive campaign to mop up arms in the hands of non-state actors, this should be backed by amnesty for those who hand over their arms in the first three weeks. The government should follow this task by encouraging people to hand over their illegally procured arms with barter for amnesty.

“The most frightening aspect is the international dimension to the crisis. A party in the dispute has succeeded in luring foreign interests whose primary motive is the continuation of the crisis instead of assisting in looking for a peaceful solution.

“The best that should happen is for all the state governors irrespective of political or religious affiliation, Christian and Muslim groups across the north to initiate a peace process that will bring together all the parties concerned for a peaceful resolution of the lingering feud. If this is not done on time, the possibility of chain solidarity reactions in Kaduna and outside Kaduna state is almost imminent.”

JODER urged Buhari and the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to put together a working group of experts drawn from “ethnic, labour, religious” groups from across the country and from the international community to examine the reports of the past national conferences, including the Henry Willink commission of inquiry.

“If the government is courageous enough to do this, peace is certain to return and threats to peaceful communities will likely subside,” it said.

BREAKING: Police raid PREMIUM TIMES head office; arrest publisher, journalist.

The Nigeria police have raided PREMIUM TIMES head office in Abuja, and arrested the newspaper’s publisher.


The publisher, Dapo Olorunyomi, was arrested alongside the paper’s judiciary correspondent, Evelyn Okakwu.


Plain-clothed officers conducted search at the office shortly after 5p.m. Thursday, and said they were acting on a complaint filed by the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.


The arrests came days after PREMIUM TIMES turned down the army’s demand to retract news stories about the Nigerian Army and its operations.


The paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, condemned the raid.


“They should stop deluding themselves that they can muzzle the press and intimidate PREMIUM TIMES,” said Mr. Mojeed. “They should know that our loyalty lies with our readers and the Nigerian people who have a right to know.”


He said the paper will continue “to discharge its responsibilities in line with global best practices, social responsibility and patriotism, even at great risk to our personal liberties”.


More details later…

Journalists Write Buhari On Southern Kaduna, Call For Stakeholders Conference.

Journalists for Democratic Rights (JODER), a leading Nigerian media rights group, has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to launch an intensive campaign aimed at mopping up arms in the hands of non-state actors across the country, especially in the Northern states. This is necessary to stem the tide of violence that threatens the country’s stability, the media group stated.

JODER also urged the President to create time to visit Southern Kaduna, saying such a step will boost the dwindling trust of the feuding parties in his government.

JODER called on President Buhari to impress on Northern leaders for an all embracing ethnic and religious conference to deal with the festering crisis in the region.

JODER whose officials recently paid visits to flashpoints in the North warned that the on-going blood-letting in Southern Kaduna has the potential of throwing the entire country into a faith and ethnic induced mayhem.

The warming was contained in a letter addressed to President Buhari and signed by the group’s Executive Director, Mr Adewale Adeoye. The media group regretted that  the social media space is awashed with propaganda material on the Kaduna crisis capable of instigating spontaneous uprising in Africa’s most populous country. No fewer that 1,000 people may have been killed in the past few months that the crisis began.

JODER said the crisis in Kaduna state has led to an ‘arms rival’ and a ‘spiral rise’ in the competition by contenting parties to procure arms and ammunition in anticipation of current or future conflict. This comes in the absence of public trust in the mediation strategies of the authorities concerned. The group said its next conference billed for Kaduna will focus on the Southern Kaduna crisis.

JODER stated that access to arms and ammunition is a major inducement to the growing conflict in some Nigerian communities. With the crisis in the Magreb region, coupled with the increase in poverty and the rise of faith fundamentalism,   arms have become easier to access. We also observe the employment of mercenaries by contending parties in the prosecution of the conflict in Kaduna state. JODER described the Southern Kaduna crisis as a “festering old wound.”

One major solution is for the government to embark on a massive campaign to mop up arms in the hands of non-state actors, this should be backed by amnesty for those who hand over their arms in the first three weeks.

The government should follow this task by encouraging people to hand over their illegally procured arms with barter for amnesty.

JODER stated in the letter “The Southern Kaduna crisis is just a metaphor for more crisis that may occur in the nearest future. The moral authority of the mediating parties is very weak. There is deep suspicion by all the parties that the government sponsored mediators will not be able to resolve the deep-seated problems. The most frightening aspect is the international dimension to the crisis. A party in the dispute has succeeded in luring foreign interests whose primary motive is the continuation of the crisis instead of assisting in looking for a peaceful solution.

JODER said it is obvious that the political authorities in Kaduna state do not enjoy the trust and confidence of the disputants in the conflict which necessitates the need for a third party to intervene.

“The best that should happen is for all the state governors irrespective of political or religious affiliation, Christian and Muslim groups, civil society across the country to initiate a peace process that will bring together all the parties concerned for a peaceful resolution of the lingering feud. If this is not done on time, the possibility of chain solidarity reactions in Kaduna and outside Kaduna state is almost imminent.

JODER said the Kaduna unrest mirror the faultlines of Nigerian federalism, adding that the ruling party should be bold enough to restructure the country in a way that guarantees self actualization.

“Nigeria is a plural society. For lasting peace, there must be justice. Every religion and culture should realize the need to coexist without one imposing its values on the other. Nigeria is facing a huge dilemma in the context of the national question which has for long remained unresolved.  This is compounded by corruption, ineptitude and the country’s economic meltdown which continue to fuel hunger, anger and desperation in young and hopeless people.”

JODER urged President Buhari and the ruling party to put together a Working Group of Experts drawn from ethnic, labour, religious groups from across the country and from the International Community to examine the reports of the past National Conferences, including the Henry Willink Commission of Inquiry of 1959. If the government is courageous enough to do this, peace is certain to return and threats to peaceful communities may likely subside.


Source: Sahara Reporters

The many tribulations of Nigerian journalists working in the shadow of Boko Haram – By Abang Mercy

“A 9-year-old boy, dressed for school, turns to say goodbye. Within the twinkle of an eye, a bullet from an AK47 rifle makes its way through his body. I watch him drop dead immediately. His crime? He wore a school uniform and was headed for school”.

Sixty-three-year-old veteran journalist Ahmed Juba immediately breaks down in tears as he tries to recall all that had happened that fateful day.

“That was when I knew this is war. I was headed to the office, running after a story, then I held back; I carried the lifeless body of Musa, a story was before me,” he said.

Journalists from the front lines, from the fringes of Madagali in Adamawa State to the trading communities of Potiskum in Yobe State and of course the renown tragic abductions in Chibok in Borno State, narrate the tales of surviving Boko Haram and fulfilling the resilience of a society that lost everything except its sense of hope.

According to a report by the third edition of the Global Terrorism Index, Boko Haram had overtaken ISIS as the world’s deadliest terrorist organisation, accounting for 6,600 deaths, displacing 2.3 million people and forcing 250,000 to flee to Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

Invariably Journalists became the under-reported casualties of the tragic insurgence. Channels Television’s Akogwu Enenche and the NTA Cameraman Zakkariyya Isa killed in Borno are popular because of the traction their deaths elicited. However, there are more and more reporters whose tale of resilience is just emerging — tales that explain why the North East became a media black hole. .

The crisis affected the day-to-day activities of media organisations. Jamila Bako said male casters were asked to work in the evenings as the streets were mostly deserted and unsafe for female staff, who had regular encounters with the insurgents, being caught in between the volley of bullets from soldiers and insurgent.

“As a newscaster, I went on air tensed and in most cases, my voice battled with the sound of bomb explosions and gunshots while on air. We then moved our news bulletin from 7pm to 5pm, and the worst part was when our cameraman was killed. The insurgents called us to explain to us why he was killed; they had all our phone numbers.”

Jamila, a middle-career journalist, also narrated how her colleague was asked to visit the family of late Boko Haram leader Mohammed Yusuf’s in-law to inquire the purpose of then President Olusegun Obasanjo’s visit — only for the interviewee to be killed.

“The reporter immediately fled; he was on the run, left Maiduguri to Bama and later moved to Cameroon for safety. That episode was terrifying, residents stopped talking to the press and especially NTA, because talking to the media was signing your own death sentence.”

The terrorists also wanted to be known by a particular name initially and the journalists were told what to do. An instance was when roving reporter, Mariam Aaron, said the insurgents were very upset that journalists called them Boko Haram instead of the name they wanted to be identified with at the start of the crisis: Jam?’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jih?d.

“I was repeatedly called to stop using the name Boko Haram if I wanted to stay alive with my family members,” Aaron, a television reporter said.

“They were very upset to be referred to as Boko Haram, a name they felt was given to them by the West. We were forced to stop calling them the names they hated.”

Amnesty International constantly issues reports about the detention of children and men at Giwa barracks in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, many of them arbitrarily rounded up during mass arrests — often with no evidence against them. Once inside the barracks, they are incarcerated without access to the outside world or trial. A news reporter’s accounts gives credence to what the Human rights agency documents.

Pressman Bello Gaidam was forced to flee Maiduguri to Adamawa and then Yobe after filing a story that ruffled the terrorists so badly he and his immediate family members were penned for death.

“All that needed to happen for us to be raided was for insurgents to attack anywhere on our street. The military will ensure they raided everyone’s home,” he said.

“Every male child was picked up and detained at the ‘notorious’ Giwa Barracks. Most of the kids were in JSS 1 and Jss 2, and they died of suffocation in the process.”

As he spoke, he struggled to hold back tears dredging up the harrowing experience in itself. “We had to contend with Boko Haram and the Nigerian military,” he said. “It was a tough call but we had to, we’ve also asked ourselves: who is the lesser evil?”

Reporting Boko Haram forced him to change his name, identity and looks “but somehow they still knew me, and told me to my face”.

And Maryam Sule, a known radio producer who presents one of the most popular programmes in the region, talks about the misrepresentation of the North East and journalists reporting the conflict..

“We are not talking about the protection of journalists; we are not debating the rights of one reporting conflict; we are saying we were in it, part of it and in it all, tried to perform the surveillance function. Mercy how do you do that? Tell me. We’ve heard people criticise Nigerian journalists from this region; some say we are doing nothing.

“Boko Haram will call me, instructing me on how to file my stories. There was a time I reported the victories of the Nigerian army in Boko Haram-controlled territories. I was immediately threatened to rewrite the story or get killed.”

She also spoke about the welfare of Nigerian journalists, especially those in the northeast region. “I have no insurance at my work place, I have no security protecting me like journalists who visit here. Most of the international journalists are accompanied with more than 10 security personnel. My family is here so at some point I had to listen to them and I was even ready to do what they wanted.”

Journalists in the northeast aren’t only reporting the crisis, they struggled to survive the conflict as well. The key actors, such as the military and the Boko Haram were not all there was to the story. Abdullahi Danlami sheds light about dealing with Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF).

“The emergence of the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) also had its implication. The youths wanted all young boys to take part in hunting for the terrorists; we had sleepless nights, we were reporting all that was ongoing and you get random young men knocking at some point threatening to break down your door to enroll your kids and take them to the bush to hunt for terrorists and when you fail to allow your 10-year-old to join, you’re in trouble.

“I must commend the CJTF but it was a nightmare knowing that your kids had to be turned into terrorist hunters. Those that came back alive were never the same. Most of them had to start smoking and drinking, and then you are faced with reporting the crisis when you are also the story. What do you do?”

Danlami added that he then had to sleep in his station for about six months or more and even in the station, there was no security. “I was waiting for the day the terrorists would come take over the station and force us to put them on air!”

These tales highlight some of the tragic and traumatic instances journalists faced while working to tell the multifaceted story of the Boko Haram insurgency.

Editor’s Note: To protect the identity of the journalists, the names in this piece are pseudonyms. However, all the quotes and testaments are true.

Court Bars Journalists From Covering Nnamdi Kanu’s Trial

A court in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, has barred reporters from covering the trial of the self-acclaimed leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

There is huge presence of security personnel at the trial of the pro-Biafra leader taking place at the Federal High Court, with the officials denying journalists and visitors entry.

Only close family members are allowed into the court by security operatives.

No reason was given for this decision by the court but recently it was reported that the trial of the self-acclaimed IPOB leader would be done behind the camera, a move that Mr Kanu had protested.

Outside the court premises, however, are journalists and supporters of the accused persons, Mr Kanu.

Mr Kanu is standing trial on a three-count charge of criminal conspiracy, intimidation and belonging to an unlawful society.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.

He was arrested in Lagos on 14 October, 2015 and has been held in prison since then despite various court orders that ruled for his release.

Members of the IPOB in the southeast have also held series of protests, demanding his release.

74 Journalists Killed In 2016

At least 74 journalists and other media workers were killed worldwide in 2016.

53 of the victims died as a result of targeted attacks, media watchdog, Reporters without Borders (RSF) said Monday.

RSF Germany director, Christian Mihr, told journalists in Afghanistan that Mexico, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan and Somalia were countries where media safety and freedom were particularly at risk in 2016.

“Afghanistan is a classic example, even if Germany does not want to hear it, because there are always attempts to portray it as being safe, “the News Agency of Nigeria quoted Mihr as saying to journalists.

“This year the number of emergency requests from journalists in Afghanistan, who turned to us to ask for assistance, rose.


“It was clearly compared to the previous year as the state no longer had control in many regions and regional warlords were in charge.”

The remaining 21 journalists died while they were working in areas such as war zones, and five of the total victims were women.


74 journalists killed in 2016

EFCC urges journalists to champion fight against graft.

The Head of the South South Zonal Office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Ishaq Salihu, has called on Nigerian journalists and other media practitioners to collaborate with the EFCC in the fight against corruption and financial crimes.

According to Salihu, the fight against the social malaise of corruption can be won if journalists discharge their responsibilities professionally by holding the government accountable to the people.

Salihu made this remark while declaring open a training workshop for the reporting of financial crimes.

It was organized by the EFCC for journalists in the South South zone of the country.

It was held in Port Harcourt.

Osita Nwajah, the Director, Public Affairs, who represented the Acting Chairman, Ibrahim Magu, at the event, said the workshop was organized as a way of interfacing with journalists and deepening the relationship between the Commission and the media.

Nwajah challenged participants to “become frontlines in the fight against corruption if we are to achieve the country of our dream”.

Musikilu Mojeed, the Editor-in-Chief of Premium Times, an online newspaper, in his paper: “Journalism and the Fight Against Corruption, Lesson from Abroad,” challenged journalists to go beyond the ordinary in the discharge of their duties by producing reports that could transform the society.

Mojeed cited several instances across the world, including the widely publicized Panama Papers, where journalists through their stories got senior government officials to either resign or be prosecuted.

In Ghana for instance, he cited the heroic effort of a journalist who, through undercover investigation, exposed corrupt judges that were consequently sacked and prosecuted.

In his paper: “Law, Journalists and Flight Against Corruption,” Gbemiga Ogunleye, the Provost of the Nigeria Institute of Journalism, Lagos, lamented the nation’s loss to corruption.

Ogunleye posited that the Nigeria media was critical to building a better country and urged journalists to be factual in their reports.

He said the Nigeria Constitution envisaged the importance of the press and urged journalists to apply the law when necessary.

Osadolor Igiozee, in his paper: “Electronic Media and Investigative Reporting, New Trends and Opportunities,” posited that journalists would have to be daring and fearless if they are to be successful in investigative reporting.

Igiozee encouraged them to look beyond the immediate gains and apply modern tools and techniques.

BBOG Tasks Journalists On Chibok Girls

The #BringBackOurGirls(BBOG) group has called on  journalists in country to continue to report the issue of the abducted girls until the remaining 197 girls are brought back home to re-unite with their families.

Speaking during its normal sit-out yesterday, one its members,  Fati Abba-Kaka stated that the role of journalists is pivotal in pushing the federal government to do the needful and bring the remaining girls back.

She also urged the media to give the 21 released Chibok girls some space to allow them adjust to a normal life after the trauma they had passed through.

Recall that last week, the co-covener of the  #BBOG, Dr Oby Ezekwesili has frowned over media frenzy on the released 21 Chibok girls, as they needed to adjust slowly to nomalcy.

Ezekwesili, who was speaking during the sit-out of the group yesterday , expressed fear that the constant media frenzy and picture taking would affect the adjustment of the girls into nomalcy.

“The girls are being made to forget quickly. That is not how it should be. I worry how this rapid semblance of normancly will affect the girls. It can be dangerous.

“We are not satisfied with the approach. In what I have learnt, people had passed through the trauma like that of the Chibok girls should not be  exposed to  frequent interaction. The girls has gone through a lot, physically, psychological and morally. The process have to be managed in a systematic way. We need to get a good handle on them so that we won’t regret latter,” she added.

“There needs to be an adjustment process which we think it is not happening. Enough with the pictures. We don’t need all that. The most important is their families and their care givers. We don’t need the pictures of the girls every where. We are not the implementers. We are an advocacy group and getting the girls to be wholesome is the responsibility of the government. Recession has not gotten  where the government cannot do an adjustment programme for them. We are not satisfied. Enough of th pictures. Stop moving them about. There is a long journey to them fully coming back,” she said.


EFCC Boss Solicits Support Of Journalists In Fight Against Corruption

Mr Ibrahim Magu, the Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has solicited the support of journalists in the fight against corruption in the country.


He made the request when he visited the Correspondent Chapel at the NUJ Press Centre in Kano on Thursday.


He said the Commission found it necessary to seek for the support and cooperation of journalists in order to ensure the success of the crusade.


He added that “what we are doing is for Nigeria and not for our personal interest, hence our decision as stakeholders to seek for your support.

“We appreciate your support but we want you to give us more support by educating people, especially at the grassroots on the ills of corruption.”


According to him, the present administration under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is committed to the fight against corruption in the country.


“We now have the appropriate political will to fight corruption. We can only blame ourselves if we fail to perform,” Magu said.


He, however, urged journalists to monitor the activities of the EFCC with a view to providing useful suggestions on how to correct its mistakes
and shortcomings.

He said “I always welcome useful criticisms, so I want you to monitor us and to constructively criticise and analyse how we operate.”


In their separate remarks, the Chairman of the NUJ Kano State Council and Chairman of the Correspondent Chapel, Malam Aduljalal Haruna and Mr Edwin Olufu, expressed the readiness of journalists in the state to support the Commission to achieve the desired objective.




Journalists Swarm London Police Station, Court 10 Where Diezani Is Expected To Appear

Following last Friday’s arrest and conditional bail of Nigeria’s former Petroleum Minister, Mrs. Diezani Alison-Madueke, and four other suspects, the British National Crime Agency ordered them to report today (Monday) at the Charing Cross Police Station.

Journalists, early on Monday morning, stormed the Charing Cross Police Station, London, to await the arrival of the former minister who is being investigated over alleged money laundering case and bribery.

Read More: vanguardngr

Al Jazeera Journalists Pardoned In Egypt

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sissi yesterday pardoned two Al Jazeera journalists jailed for three years in a case that drew worldwide attention to his government’s crackdown on dissent.

Canadian-Egyptian journalist Mohammed Fahmy and the network’s Egyptian producer Baher Mohammed were among some 100 prisoners included in a presidential pardon marking the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha.

Al-Sissi also pardoned two prominent young female activists, Sana Seif and Yara Salam, who were jailed last year under a law that effectively banned protests without prior police approval.

Fahmy and Mohammed were arrested in late 2013 and charged with publishing false news and collaborating with the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

Read More: thisdaylive

FG committed to press freedom – Adesina

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, has assured media practitioners of the Federal Government’s commitment to upholding press freedom.

Adeshina said this at the public presentation, on Tuesday, of the first two volumes of a book entitled, “Nigerian Media Leaders: Voices beyond the Newsroom,” written by Mr. Richard Ikiebe.

The event was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.

The presidential aide said the Federal Government was aware that it would not break much ground to develop the country if it did not work with the media.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari recognised the media as an ally and a critical partner in the quest to build a worthy Nigeria.

“Our president is set to champion the freedom of the press because he sees the institution as a vital building block for national development,” he said.

Adeshina said the media had always played critical roles at different epochs in the history of the country.

“The media will be more conciliatory, lending a critical hand as the government strives to build a new country devoid of official corruption,” he said.

Adeshina commended the author of the book, saying their presentation was a watershed at this point in the history of the country.


Ethiopia Frees 5 Bloggers, Journalists Ahead Of Obama’s Visit

Five bloggers and journalists held in Ethiopia for more than a year have been freed after the charges were dropped, their lawyer said Thursday, weeks before US President Barack Obama is due to visit the country.

In a separate case, journalist Reeyot Alemu, jailed in June 2011 after being found guilty of plotting a terrorist act, was released on Thursday, campaigners said.

Four others also arrested in April 2014 remain in jail, accused of planning attacks and collaborating with US-based opposition group Ginbot 7, labelled a terrorist organisation by Ethiopian authorities.

“They have suffered, their rights have been violated, but now we are happy,” defence lawyer Ameha Mekonnen told AFP after the five journalists and bloggers were released on Wednesday.

Ameha said the decision to drop the charges was unexpected.

“We are all surprised. The question is why did it take more than one year? We’ve been crying, shouting to the court, to the government,” he said.

The trial of the four remaining bloggers is due to resume on July 20.

Rights activists welcomed the releases but said more needed to be done.

“It’s very good news that six journalists and bloggers have been released, though they shouldn’t have been imprisoned in the first place,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy director for Africa at Human Rights Watch.

“The government should show this is only a first step toward releasing all political prisoners and opening up space for Ethiopians to voice dissent on a range of issues.”

Tom Rhodes from the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) called the release, “a welcome turn of events in Ethiopia, where the number of journalists in prison has steadily increased in recent years”.

“We call on authorities to release the remaining Zone 9 bloggers and all the journalists in jail for their work, and to drop all charges against them,” Rhodes said in a statement Thursday.

Reeyot Alemu, who won a UN press freedom prize in 2013, was originally sentenced to 14 years, reduced to five years on appeal.

Credit: AFP

Journalists Protest Over Non-Payment Of Salaries

The Nigeria Union of Journalists on Tuesday picketed the premises of ThisDay newspapers in Apapa, Lagos to protest the non-payment of nine months arrears of salaries owed its members.

The newspaper has also failed to remit personal income tax, pension cooperative deductions and check-off dues from paid salaries in the last four years.

The union, led by the NUJ Lagos State Chairman, Deji Elumoye, carried placards and barricaded the entrances of the media organisation, owned by the President of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria, Nduka Obaigbena.

Mr. Elumoye, who is also a staff of ThisDay, said he decided to lead the protest against his organisation to show that charity begins at home.

He said the protesting journalists were condemning the continuous refusal of the management of ThisDay and 12 other media houses to settle the several months arrears of salaries to their workers, especially journalists.

”I am an associate editor in Thisday,” he said. “But, I chose to picket Thisday first. There are other media organisations owing over two years, and we will go to all of them. It is time to put a stop to non-payment of salaries in media organisations. Many families cannot pay their house rents or their children’s school fees. The journalists are paid peanuts. Yet, they do not get the salaries. It is sad.”

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NUJ Tasks Buhari On Protection Of Journalists

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has urged the incoming Muhammadu Buhari administration to ensure adequate protection of journalists and other media workers in the discharge of their duties.

The National President of the union, Malam Mohammed Garba, made the call in Kaduna on Monday as part of the activities marking the World Press Freedom Day 2015.

According to him, good governance can not be achieved when the press do not have undeterred access to the process of governance.

Garba said it was important for government to allow the journalists to carry out their watchdog role in the society “if any positive impact is to be made in the fight against corruption”.

The theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day is “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting Gender Equality and Media Safety in Digital Age.”

Garba said that this year’s theme examines issues such as free and independent journalism, and quality reporting in the context of digital age.

“This subject covers how media concentration impact on media’s role in self-regulation issues, the challenges to investigative journalism, hate speech and media information literacy,” he said.

The NUJ president charged journalists to be responsible in their professional conduct, taking into cognisance to their social responsibility as watchdog role in the society. He also tasked journalists to always remind leaders about the importance of good governance.

In his remarks, Governor Muktar Yero of Kaduna State said Journalists should be inspired to bring about the respect that the profession deserved. Yero was represented by the Commissioner for Information in the state, Ben Bako.

Credit: NAN

Al Jazeera Journalists Arrested By Nigerian Military For Loitering

Two journalists working for the global news network, Al jazeera, Ahmed Idris and Mustafa Andy, were on Wednesday arrested by the Nigerian military in Maiduguri, Borno State for loitering in areas where combat operations were being carried out.

According to a statement issued by the Defence Headquarters, the journalists were moving around “restricted areas” in Yobe and Borno States without protection, accreditation or clearance.

 The military stated that the Al jazeera staffers, who were monitored by intelligence operatives, were eventually restrained to their hotel rooms in Maiduguri following increased suspicion that their activities were focused on interfering with ongoing military operations in those areas.
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