Sunday July 16, 2017 marked exactly three months since Nigerian journalist, Famous Giobaro, was killed by unknown gunmen.
Giobaro, staff of state owned Glory FM 97.1, was shot dead on April 16 by some armed persons who broke into his home at INEC Road, Kpasia in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
Having left the house without harming anyone else or stealing anything, the attackers left no doubt that the journalist was their target and that they were not on a robbery mission.
On this solemn occasion, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) wishes to highlight this grievous attack on media freedom, and appeals to the authorities in Nigeria to spare no effort in ensuring that the perpetrators are arrested and made to face the full rigours of the law.
The Bayelsa Police Public Relations Officer, Asinim Butswat, said a few hours after the fatal attack that the Command was yet to get the full details of the incident.
Sadly, the police cannot give better news about the incident three months on. There has been no arrest, and so it is feared that this incident will likely add to the many previous cases of impunity.
Impunity creates a vicious cycle of violations against press freedom.
Obviously emboldened by the lack of judicial action over the killing of Giabaro, gunmen struck again on July 8, 2017, killing Lawrence Okojie, a journalist with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) in Edo State, Nigeria.
The incident happened when Okojie was returning home from work. His killers struck as soon as he alighted from a vehicle at the junction to his home. Fortunately in this case, one of the attackers was subsequently arrested, according to a police source.
While we commend the police for the arrest made in connection with the killing of Okojie, we renew our call for them to intensify efforts at tracking down and punishing the killers of Giobaro.
The Nigerian authorities must do this not just a moral and constitutional duty, but also as a demonstration of their commitment to protecting freedom speech as well as right to information, and creating a free and safe environment for journalists, in line with the UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity.