…Call for His Safety Two leading media advocacy groups, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the International Press Centre have called on the Federal Government to investigate the alleged threat to the life of Daily Nigeria publisher, Mr. Jaafar Jaafar, who has gone into hiding, and ensure his safety, stressing that the Government has an obligation
…Call for His Safety
Two leading media advocacy groups, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) and the International Press Centre have called on the Federal Government to investigate the alleged threat to the life of Daily Nigeria publisher, Mr. Jaafar Jaafar, who has gone into hiding, and ensure his safety, stressing that the Government has an obligation to protect members of the media, including when their lives, safety or security are threatened by government officials.
Mr. Jaafar has come under threat from Kano State Governor, Dr Ibrahim Ganduje since the journalist published video clips of the Governor in October 2018, showing him allegedly collecting bundles of dollars in bribe from a contractor.
In an interview with the BBC Hausa Service on March 19, 2021, Governor Ganduje said there were ongoing plans to deal with those who released the videos, following which Mr. Jaafar wrote a petition to the then Inspector General of Police, Mohammed Adamu, over the renewed threats to his life.
On April 14, 2021, Mr. Jaafar received an invitation from the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) Monitoring Unit to report for questioning on charges of criminal libel based on an allegation that he was inciting violence and spreading injurious falsehood against the Inspector General of Police.
Unknown persons have also reportedly been on the trail of the journalist for some time and fearing for his life, Mr. Jaafar has had to go into hiding. Reports said unidentified persons who are likely to be “hit men”, have been stalking him both at his Abuja and Kano residences.
MRA’s Communications Officer, Mr. Idowu Adewale, said in a statement issued in Lagos that: “As a journalist, Mr. Jaafar, has a constitutional right and duty to hold government and its officials accountable. Since he is a Nigerian citizen and a journalist, the Police have a duty on both counts to protect him from any form of harassment or threat as well as any danger on his life or the lives of members of his family and any attempt to prevent him from performing his professional duties.”
He argued that there is no way Mr. Jaafar can get or expect any fair treatment in the hands of the Police who have levelled spurious charges of inciting violence and spreading injurious falsehood against their boss, the Inspector General of Police, against him and are at the same time purporting to conduct an investigation into their own accusations against him, adding that “such a process makes an outrageous mockery of our system of justice”.
Mr. Adewale said MRA shared Mr. Jaafar’s concerns that the allegations and the invitation based on them for him to report to the Police for questioning are merely an attempt to lure him into their custody so that they can do him harm,
He therefore called on the government to ensure that a thorough investigation is conducted into the threats to Mr. Jaafar’s life with a view to bringing the perpetrators to justice and ensuring that no harm comes to him as the Federal Government of Nigeria would be liable under international law for the actions of the Police and any State government that violate the country’s treaty obligations.
Mr. Adewale urged the government to live up to its obligation to ensure the safety of Mr. Jaafar and other media practitioners, including by preventing attacks on them whenever possible and ensuring that all attacks or threats are investigated and that the perpetrators of any such attacks are prosecuted and punished.
The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos – Nigeria says it is disturbed about the reported threats on the life of Jaafar who went into hiding because of fear for his life as unidentified persons, likely to be ‘hitmen’ had been stalking him both at his Abuja and Kano residences.
Report reaching IPC’s Safety Alert Desk reveals that, on April 22, 2021, Jaafar posted on his Facebook page that, “he is now out of hiding and hopes to be safe.”
Executive Director of IPC, Mr. Lanre Arogundade said, “We are deeply worried about the situation of Jaafar and hereby call on the Nigerian government and the security agencies to ensure that he is not harmed in anyway.”
“We enjoin anyone who may be aggrieved over the reports of the journalist to ensure thorough investigation is conducted following the due process of the law,” Arogundade said further.
IPC believes the time has come to stop attacks on journalists in Nigeria, so that the country would stop being counted among dangerous zones for journalists to practice across the world.
Few days ago, Jaafar fled his house and went into hiding after receiving several security threats, PRNigeria reported.
“Ja’afar’s life is in danger as unidentified persons, likely to be ‘hit men’, have been stalking him both at his Abuja and Kano residences,” a close media associate of the publisher, who prefers anonymity, told PRNigeria.
Jaafar had published video clips of Governor Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano in October 2018, allegedly showing him collecting kickbacks in dollars from a contractor.
Following the Governor’s recent interview with BBC Hausa on Friday, March 19, where he said that they were making plans to deal with those who released the videos, Jaafar wrote a petition to the former Inspector General of Police Mohammed Adamu on the renewed threats to his life.
Prior to his ‘disappearance’, PRNigeria gathered that the IGP Monitoring Unit, had in a letter dated 14 April 2021, invited the Daily Nigerian publisher for questioning alleging that he was inciting violence and spreading injurious falsehood to the Inspector General of Police.
In the letter signed by ACP A. A. Elleman, the Monitoring Unit said that “This office is investigating a case of Criminal Conspiracy, Defamation, Injurious Falsehood and Inciting Violence to the Inspector General of Police in which your name featured.
“In view of the foregoing, you are kindly requested to interview the undersigned on Monday 19th April 2021 by 10.00am prompt through SP Usman Garba (Admin Officer) to shed more light on the allegation.
“Your cooperation in this regard would be highly appreciated, please,” part of the letter reads. Attempt to reach Police Force Spokesperson, CP Frank Mba, for reaction, was unsuccessful at the time of filing this report, the publication said.
Photo: Minister of Information, Mr Lai Mohammed