On March 16, 2015, the Governor of Niger State in Nigeria, Dr. Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu, threatened Aliyu M. Hamagam, a journalist with the privately-owned Daily Trust newspaper in Nigeria.
The MFWA’s correspondent in the country reported that the threat is a result of a story Hamagam authored on a project known as the “Three Arms Zone project,” which Aliyu initiated. The project, which is set to provide office and housing accommodation to the executive, the legislature and the judiciary arms of the government, has reportedly been delayed for about five years.
Aliyu told the journalist to be “careful” and also accused him of using a bad four-year-old picture to accompany the story.
“Go and see the roads, go and see the buildings that are coming there and we have not finished,” Aliyu reportedly told Hamagam.
Aliyu, who was speaking at the opening ceremony of a meeting of representatives of Non-Governmental Organizations from the North of Nigeria, accused the Daily Trust of working for the opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC). He also said the newspaper had instructed its reporters to vilify the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in the upcoming elections.
According to the MFWA’s correspondent, Aliyu alleged that in 2011, the former Niger State correspondent of the Daily Trust was “forced to resign” because the newspaper management urged him to write “bad reports” about the state PDP government.
The said reporter now works at Aliyu’s communications department.
Malam Mannir Dan Ali, Editor-in-Chief of Media Trust, the publishers of the Daily Trust, has however, denied these allegations and maintained that the newspaper is unbiased in its reportage.
The MFWA is concerned about the increasing lack of tolerance and respect for the media in Nigeria by state officials. We urge state officials to recognise the important work of journalists and respect and protect them in their line of duty.