The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) condemns the attack on journalist Abubakar Tahir, a reporter of the Manjaha Newspaper by an angry mob, and calls on the Nigerian authorities as well as heads of communities to guarantee the safety of journalists.
On September 23, 2022, an angry mob lynched and almost drowned Abubakar who was in Ganuwar Kuka, a community located close to Hadejia in Jigawa state (northwest Nigeria), to report the level of devastation caused by floods.
Tahir reported that he was brutally assaulted by the youth who repeatedly forced his head into water despite his efforts to display his press card. The journalist was injured and his mobile phone, was destroyed in the attack.
“I was shouting that I am a journalist and showing them my identity card but all to no avail. They were beating and hitting me with sticks, my mobile phones fell to the ground too. As I was making effort to stand up, they forced my head into water, removed it, hit me and forced it back into the water again.”
According to the journalist, he was saved from the marauding youth, who at a point brandished machetes and other offensive weapons, by some people who had arrived at the scene.
Tahir was subsequently taken to the head of the community and provided with new clothes before receiving treatment at the Hadejia General Hospital.
Members of the community are said to be angry with the government over neglect as perennial floods wreak havoc in their community. The journalist later reported the incident to the police.
The MFWA deplores the attack on Tahir who was simply doing his job in the public interest. While we express our sincere sympathy with the people of Ganuwar Kuka in the face of their predicament, we condemn their totally unprovoked attack on a journalist who was only helping to bring their plight to the attention of the public and the authorities. We urge the police to investigate the case and bring the perpetrators to book.