Adeola Akinremi, features editor of the privately-owned THISDAY newspaper in Lagos, has reported receiving death threats from Boko Haram.
The threats were contained in an email sent to Akinremi on May 10, 2015, by Abu Musab Abul-Barnawi, self-identified spokesperson for Boko Haram.
The threatening email said: “We have seen your hand against us. Inshallah you will die like other infidels that we captured. You have been joining our enemies. You are made yourself their mouth [sic] but we will get you insha Allah. This is a holy mission for Allah, so stop writing against us. You’re going too [sic] Michika calling yourself a brave journalist, but you’re a coward. We will get you. Its [sic] your government that talks amnesty, we are not looking for amnesty. Allah is with us. You’re now a walking dead and a prey to the Lions of Islam from the bullet of a passing car or a nearby rooftop. We are not asking you to repent, because of your error. We will use your blood to send warning to others. Those people from America and Europe that are using you against our mission will soon know the truth. Our wounded fighters will never give up. They will return to fight for Allah to get their reward. Your soldier will soon know the truth.”
The MFWA’s correspondent in Nigeria reported that the threat results from an article Akinremi authored on May 8. The article titled, “Why Boko Haram don’t deserve our amnesty,” recounted stories of Boko Haram’s victims in Adamawa, a state which has seen attacks from Boko Haram.
“After reflecting on all these stories and many more, I came to a conclusion that granting the Boko Haram members any form of amnesty will be injustice to the children orphaned by Boko Haram and the women who have become widows and of course to the memory of their slain husbands,” Akinremi wrote in his article.
Akinremi went on to report that “Boko Haram members have spurned all kinds of human rights laws, whether national, regional or international and cannot seek to enjoy the same.”
“We must either bring these enemies to justice or bring justice to them, either way justice must be done,” Akinremi wrote.
This is not the first time Boko Haram has targeted THISDAY newspaper for an article. On April 26, 2012, the insurgents simultaneously bombed the newspaper’s offices in Abuja and Kaduna. The Kaduna office housed two other newspapers, The Sun and Moment.
A few days later, the sect released a video of the Abuja bombing and threatened the newspapers with further attacks. The video referenced a 2002 publication by THISDAY, in which the newspaper said Prophet Mohammed would have married a beauty pageant contestant.
The MFWA appeals to the Nigerian Police Force to offer protection to Akinremi, his family, and THISDAY newspaper. In addition, the MFWA urges media managers and owners in Nigeria to provide risk assessment and safety guidelines and training to journalists reporting on potentially dangerous topics, such as issues related to abuses by Boko Haram.