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ECOWAS Court

17.05.2023 Featured ECOWAS Court to Hear Suit Seeking Justice for 11 Nigerian Journalists Killed Between 1998 and 2019

Published 17th May, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

On May 19, the ECOWAS Court of Justice in Abuja will hear a suit seeking justice for 11 Nigerian journalists who were killed between 1998 and 2019.

The Media Rights Agenda (MRA) filed the suit in 2021 to compel the government to properly investigate the unresolved killings of these journalists and also to identify and prosecute their killers.

The MRA is a non-governmental organisation with focus on freedom of expression, access to information and media development and persecutions.

According to a statement by the MRA on Wednesday, the journalists were killed in relation to their professional duties and no one has ever been charged or prosecuted for the killings.

READ ALSO: REPORT: Over 20 Journalists Attacked During Presidential Election

“The suit will be heard through a virtual court session, according to the Court’s Chief Registrar, who said in a “Hearing Notice” that it has been set down for hearing at 10am, Abuja time,” noted the MRA.

The 11 deceased journalists are:

NoNameMedia organisationDesignationDateWhereHow
1Mr. Tunde OladepoThe Guardian newspaperBureau ChiefFebruary 26, 1998Ogun StateKilled by gunmen in his home in front of wife and children
2Mr. Okezie AmaubenNewsservice magazinePublisherSeptember 2, 1998Enugu StateShot and killed by a police officer
3Mr. Fidelis IkwuebeThe Guardian newspaperFreelance journalistApril 18, 1999Anambra StateAbducted and murdered while covering violent clashes between the Aguleri and Umuleri communities
4Mr. Sam Nimfa-JanDetails magazineReporterMay 27, 1999Kaduna StateKilled in Kafanchan while covering riots between Hausa Fulani and Zangon-Kataf groups
5Mr. Samson BoyiThe Scope newspaperPhotojournalistNovember 5, 1999Bauchi State*Killed by armed men while on assignment to cover a visit by the then State governor, Mr. Boni Haruna, to the neighbouring Bauchi State
6Mr. Bayo OhuThe Guardian newspaperAssistant news editorSeptember 20, 2009Lagos StateShot by armed men in his home
7Mr. Nathan DabakLight Bearer newspaperDeputy editorApril 24, 2010Jos StateAttacked and killed by a mob while on a reporting assignment
8Mr. Sunday Gyang BwedeLight Bearer newspaperReporterApril 24, 2010Jos StateAttacked and killed by a mob while on a reporting assignment
9Mr. Zakariya IsaNigerian Television Authority (NTA)Reporter and cameramanOctober 22, 2011 Boko Haram reportedly claimed responsibility for his death.
10Mr. Enenche AkogwuChannels TelevisionReporter and camera operatorJanuary 20, 2012Kano StateKilled by gunmen suspected to be Boko Haram members
11Mr. Precious OwolabiChannels TelevisionCorps member and reporterJuly 22, 2019AbujaShot and killed while covering a protest by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria resulting in a confrontation with the Nigerian Police  
Table prepared by Abimbola Abatta with information obtained on Media Rights Agenda’s website

READ ALSO: REPORT: NBC, Illegal Arrests Make Nigeria Too Dangerous and Difficult for Journalists

Some of the MRA’s demands include the declaration that the killing of the 11 journalists violated their fundamental right to life and rights to freedom of expression and the press.

The MRA also wants the court to direct the government to prevent further attacks on journalists and other media workers, transparent and impartial investigations into the killings, as well as N10 million compensation to each of the victims’ families.

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Published 17th May, 2023

By Abimbola Abatta

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