Security agents in Nigeria have threatened, harassed, unlawfully detained and seized equipment of local reporters while covering stories on Boko Haram attacks in the country.
Founded in 2002, The Global Terrorism Index said Boko Haram had carried out terror attacks in four West African countries such as Chad, Niger, Cameroon and Nigeria, claiming about 6,644 lives, a record higher than attacks by ISIS. However, local reporters in Nigeria are finding it hard to report comprehensively on the Islamic sect and its attacks due to threats from the country’s security agents.
Index on Censorship reports that Joseph Hir, a Nigerian journalist, was arrested and tortured for writing a story that revealed how some female security officers were detained by their command because they had joined protesters who were calling on the government to ensure the return and safety of over 200 Chibok schoolgirls kidnapped by Boko Haram. While locked in a cell, Hir was asked to disclose his source but he refused.
Coverage from various mainstream media including BBC, CNN, CBC and other corporate media about the Chibok schoolgirl kidnapping were basically about the attack. Not once was it mentioned that a certain journalist was arrested and tortured by Nigeria’s security agents while performing his primary duty in the society.
Global Terrorism Index, “Measuring and understanding the impact of terrorism.” November 2015, http://economicsandpeace.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Global-Terrorism-Index-2015.pdf
Aminu Abubakar, “FACTSHEET: How many schoolgirls did Boko Haram abduct and how many are still missing?” AfricaCheck, April 14, 2015, https://africacheck.org/factsheets/factsheet-how-many-schoolgirls-did-boko-haram-abduct-and-how-many-are-still-missing/
Alastair Sloan, “Nigeria: Journalists targeted in ‘war on terror.’ ” Index on Censorship, June 3, 2014, https://www.indexoncensorship.org/2014/06/nigeria-targeting-journalists-boko-haram/
Student Researcher: Osobade Oluwabusayo (University of Regina)
Faculty Evaluator: Patricia W. Elliott (University of Regina)