Ahmed Idris and Ali Mustafa, journalists with Al Jazeera, were released on April 5, 2015, by members of Nigeria Military after 12 days in detention, nearly all of which was spent in hotel rooms.
The two journalists were detained on March 24, 2015, by military personnel in their hotel room at Maiduguru.
The MFWA’s correspondent in Nigeria reported that the two were detained after their return from covering a story on the Nigerian forces fighting Boko Haram in Borno State. The military men questioned them and seized their cameras and mobile phones before consequently detaining them.
A military statement said Idris and Mustafa were questioned and detained for operating without “protection, accreditation or due clearance,” even though they had completed filming with the cooperation of the military.
However, the two journalists were accredited by the Independent Electoral Commission to report from anywhere in Nigeria during the entire electioneering period.
The military statement also accused both men of “loitering” in various locations, however, they were actually detained in their hotel rooms at those times.
The statement provided a reminder about warnings to foreign journalists regarding their coverage of Nigeria’s recent elections. However, both Idris and Mustafa are Nigerians—not foreigners—and have reported for several years in Nigeria.
Following their 12-day detention, Al Jazeera instituted a legal action against the Nigerian military. A statement released by Al Jazeera on April 2, said the legal action against the military is aimed at “securing [the two journalists’] fundamental rights to personal liberty and human dignity under the Nigerian constitution”.