A 2021 Press Freedom Report released on Wednesday said eight Nigerian journalists had been killed during the regime of the President Muhammadu Buhari.
It added that apart from the unresolved killings, the regime recorded 300 violations, affecting about 500 journalists, media workers, and media houses in the country.
The report released by the Media Foundation for West Africa in collaboration with the Nigeria Union of Journalists, said the development was of major concern to the NUJ, as journalists and media organisations remained targets of attack by both protesters and government.
Presenting the report in Abuja, the Executive Director, Citizen Advocacy for Social and Economic Right, Frank Tietie, said such actions would bring back unpleasant memories of the long tenure of military rule and the established culture of intolerance against the media.
The report said Nigeria was witnessing actions that sought to undermine the profession by both state and non-state actors.
According to the report, Nigeria was fast gaining notoriety for its failure to tackle impunity for crimes against journalists including killings.
The report reads in part, “For example, in 2017, four journalists were killed in separate incidents with no credible inquiry yet to find the culprits and their motive for the fatal attacks. The four were a cameraman with the Anambra Broadcasting Services, Ikechukwu Onubogu; Lawrence Okojie of the Nigeria Television Authority in Edo State, a Desk Editor with Glory FM in Bayelsa State, Famous Giobaro and freelance broadcaster in Ekiti State, Abdul Ganiyu Lawal.
“Four more journalists have since been killed under circumstances that have yet to be clarified through any credible investigations. The killing on July 22, 2019 of Precious Owolabi, a reporter with the Channels Television in Abuja while covering a protest by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria-IMN, was agonising.”
The report also said clamping down on the media was a sign of weak democracy and a restive government.
Speaking earlier, the President of NUJ, Chris Isiguzo said the safety of journalists should “include the absence of arbitrary arrest, resorting to exile to escape repression, harassment, destruction and confiscation of equipment and premises, and self-censorship in media.”