1 April 2013

Nigeria: Under Threat From Security Agencies, Boko Haram, Nigerian Journalist Flees Nigeria

A Nigerian journalist, who has reported extensively on the extreme Boko Haram sect, has fled Nigeria for the United Arab Emirates after he reportedly came under increasing pressure from Nigerian security agents and Boko Haram insurgents.

In an email to two PREMIUM TIMES editors, Ahmad Salkida said he had to flee after his life and that of his family became endangered in the past weeks.

"Now I can report that I am in Dubai," Mr. Salkida said in the letter. "I am trying to get employment visa .... This is crucial so that I can sustain my stay here and contribute ultimately to today's journalism."

The journalist, who had worked for Daily Trust, Blueprint and PREMIUM TIMES, had become troubled of late after security agencies and Nigerian authorities began to mistake his in-depth reporting on the extremist group as evidence of his closeness to the sect.

"After years of seeking ways and alternatives to working professionally and remaining with my family in Nigeria, I am afraid to report that I came recently to the conclusion that I have to flee," he further lamented in the email.

"After my most recent expose on the scandal going in respect of purported ceasefire negotiated between government and Boko Haram, the danger to my life has escalated to new heights. I have had to go severely underground for several weeks leading to my final decision to flee Nigeria."

He added, "Security agents and many victims of Boko Haram seem frequently upset by the things I write in the media which made me to scale down my professional visibility. More worrying, I have turned down Boko Haram's several requests for me to publish exclusive interviews and materials for them."

Mr. Salkida had written in the article, published in PREMIUM TIMES on February 1 that the claim by government that the Boko Haram sect was negotiating a truce was false and fraudulent.

Mr. Salkida has consistently maintained that he had only maintained a professional contact with a few elements he had reported upon long before the sect became violent.

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