26 December 2012

Nigeria: Group Condemns Arrest of Kaduna Journalists

Photo: Vanguard
Nigerian Army

Kaduna — The Protection Rights of Journalist of Africa (PRJA), an organisation based in Cape Town, South Africa has condemned the arrest of Malam Musa Muhammed Awwal and Malam Aliyu Saleh, news editor and a reporter of Almizan Hausa newspaper based in Kaduna.

President of PRJA Mr Adamu Abubakar Gwarzo in a statement e-mailed to our correspondent called for the immediate and unconditional release of the two journalists. He expressed disappointment and concern over the development.

According to him, the recent arrest is coming at a time Nigeria's human rights record regarding freedom for journalists has improved over the years despite many infringements of rights of journalists on the orders of political authorities.

"We condemn the brutality meted on our fellow colleagues. The manner they were arrested and how their families were subjected to inhuman treatment is an indictment on the government of Nigeria and her repeated resolved to protect the rights of journalists. If they have anything against the paper or the editor the proper thing to do is to go to court to challenge what was published," he added.

"The constitution of Nigeria is very clear on such violations and what the law requires. It is illegal to detain them above the stipulated 24 hours without taking them to court. If the SSS truly have evidence against them and what the paper reports, the lawful way is to refer the matter to court without waste of time and grant them bail without further delay.

"It is common knowledge that credible international organisations like the Amnesty International have equally revealed gross human rights violations by members of the JTF in their fight against the Boko Haram insurgency. To our knowledge at PRJA substantial evidences of gross human rights violations were given and published by Amnesty International even before the Al-Mizan story was published," he said.

He called on President Goodluck Jonathan to call the SSS and the Police to order and that the journalists should be released without further delay.

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