No fewer than eight journalists have been reportedly killed while carrying out their duties during the current regime of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The regime also recorded 300 violations and harassment which affected about 500 journalists, media workers, and media houses in the country.
This was revealed on Wednesday in Abuja during the release and official presentation of the State of Media Freedom in Nigeria by Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) in collaboration with the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Open Society Initiative For West Africa (OSIWA) and Hewlett Foundation.
The report described the killings and unwarranted attacks on journalists and protesters as worrisome and a major concern for press freedom and freedom of expression.
The Executive Director, Citizen Advocacy for Social and Economic Right (CASER) Frank Tietie, who presented the report at NUJ Secretariat in Utako, said the incessant cases of media repression has taken the country back to the dark days of the military rule which the President was part of.
The report added that Nigeria is being known with notoriety for its failure to tackle impunity for crimes against journalists, including unresolved killings.
The report said, “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 Nigerian 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 in Nigeria-IMN, was agonising.”
The report also said clamping down on the media was a sign of weak democracy and a restive government.
On his part the NUJ President, Chris Isiguzo described the killing of journalists as barbaric, adding that safety of journalists should include absence of arrest, attack, confiscation of equipment and harassment.