The Coalition for Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) has condemned the harassment of a Nigerian investigative journalist, Marcus Fatunmole, by security personnel at Eagle Square car park in Abuja, Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory.
Fatunmole, who is the news editor of the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), a Nigerian media publication, was reportedly harassed on Monday, Dec. 4, while investigating the controversy surrounding the FCT mass transportation scheme.
According to a statement signed by Busola Ajibola, deputy director of journalism at the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), an African media think tank, on behalf of CWPPF on Tuesday, Fatunmole was harassed by different security agents “including a police officer, Abuja Property Development Company (APDC), and a 360 TFA private security [officer].”
While the journalist’s phone was seized, his Google accounts were invaded though he provided the personnel with viable identification including a confirmation from his editor.
He was thereafter detained and handed over to the Police at Central Police Station, Federal Secretariat, Abuja.
“The seizure of his phone and intrusion into his Google account by Abuja Property
Development Company (APDC) security officials further exacerbated the violation of his rights, including his right to privacy, expression, and the press,” part of the statement by the coalition read.
Though the journalist was released after spending six hours at the station where he was held from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., CWPPF says all responsible parties must be held accountable and sanctioned for violating Fatunmole’s rights.
Before now, many journalists in Nigeria have endured harassment, death threats, and other abuses in the course of their duties. A 2023 report from Reporters Without Borders shows Nigeria as one of West Africa’s most dangerous and difficult countries to practice journalism.
The CWPPF is a group of media and civil society organisations holding government accountable in Africa.
Members of the groups includes Premium Times, The Cable, Daily Trust Newspaper, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), Civic Media Lab Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), among others.
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