Mr Peter Nkanga, Nigerian multilingual investigative journalist and former West Africa representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has been selected for the 2019 “Jamal Khashoggi Award for Courageous Journalism.” The award is administered by the US-based Inti Raymi Fund, a global human rights foundation. In a letter signed by Human Rights Advisor at
Mr Peter Nkanga, Nigerian multilingual investigative journalist and former West Africa representative of the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), has been selected for the 2019 “Jamal Khashoggi Award for Courageous Journalism.” The award is administered by the US-based Inti Raymi Fund, a global human rights foundation.
In a letter signed by Human Rights Advisor at Inti Raymi Fund, Mr Anas Talalqa, the organization congratulated Mr. Nkanga, who’s based in Abuja, for his selection for the award, noting that the “The Award honours the brave journalists who expose abuse of power and corruption, share difficult truths, discuss taboo topics, and work in hostile environments. For true democracy to work, there must be a free press.”
“Today I was announced a winner of the ‘Jamal Khashoggi Award for Courageous Journalism’ by @IntiRaymiFund. I dedicate this Award to all journalists and human rights defenders in #Africa. The struggle is real, but it is not over until We Win. #JusticeForJamal,” Peter Nkanga tweeted about the award.
A fierce advocate for press freedom, Peter Nkanga has been in the forefront of the campaign for the rights of journalists in Nigeria and across sub-Saharan Africa. Last year, he spearheaded the advocacy for the release of journalist, Jones Abiri, publisher of Bayelsa State-based weekly paper, Weekly Source, who was arrested by operatives of the DSS in July 2016. He also coordinated the advocacy and protests in Nigeria on Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was murdered at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, on October 2, 2018.
According to Inti Raymi Fund, “The Jamal Khashoggi Award (JKA) for Courageous Journalism was created in December 2018 to show people that journalists are not going to step aside, cannot be silenced, and deserve to be recognized for their strength in the face of adversity.”
Fluent in English and French, Nkanga according to his Linkdln profile, has undertaken investigations into Human Rights abuses. He’s “particularly interested in internationalizing issues affecting Nigeria and the African continent.”
Also a media panelist on human rights and security issues at public fora, he’s interested in mediation, arbitration, negotiation, diplomacy, peace & conflict resolution and non-violent social movements. He often shares his experiences as human rights commentator on live radio shows.
Nkanga is an active defender of the rights of journalists to report the news without fear of reprisal and specializes in writing articles, news releases, and special reports on journalists’ rights and press freedom related issues affecting West Africa. His strong armour is his high premium on working through diplomatic channels in French or English and providing support to local journalists.
His forte also includes “conducting independent observations and evaluations of elections and performing independent rapporteur functions for civil society organizations,” with “Focus on improving the effectiveness of non state actors in holding governments accountable.”
He also provides “in-depth reportage with audio-visual content for international and local media and rights organizations. Acting as a fixer and advising these organizations on topical issues.”
Nkanga was at the head of a group of media rights activists which protested at the Saudi Arabian embassy in Abuja to demand justice over the gruesome murder of Saudi journalist, Jamal Khashoggi.
Mr Khashoggi, a Washington Post writer, was assassinated on October 2 last year, at the Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey, where he had gone to receive some documents for his planned marriage. A team of assassins were reported to have flown into Turkey from Saudi Arabia to kill Mr Khashoggi.
The journalist had departed Saudi Arabia, his country, for the United States, following growing fears about his safety, but was killed in what has been described by officials as premeditated murder.
Mr Khashoggi’s death has drawn wide criticism on the Saudi Arabian monarchy, especially the country’s Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, who is accused of ordering the attack.
Days after, activists in Abuja under the platform of the Coalition of Nigerian Media and Civil Society Groups demanded justice for Mr Khashoggi. They also asked the Nigerian government to re-open similar cases of journalists murdered by suspected government officials across the country.
According to a statement signed by Nkanga and Mr Chido Onuma, the group urged Saudi Arabian citizens to understand that they deserve better than what they described as “a blood thirsty leadership.”
“With deep grief and greatest sorrow in memory of journalists killed in Nigeria and around the world, the Coalition of Nigerian Media and Civil Society Groups are gathered here to make three statements: First, we are gathered here to commiserate with the family and friends of journalist, Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, and the good people of Saudi Arabia.”
“We are gathered here to tell the people of Saudi Arabia that you deserve better. You deserve better than a bloodthirsty government that kills its citizens at will, and with total impunity.”
“No human being should ever have to face such a bestial death. Jamal did not deserve to die, let alone in the one place where he should have felt safest in a foreign land – the Saudi Arabia Consulate.”
“Let us think about it critically. Do we know how many people have died in similar circumstances at Saudi Embassies and Consulates around the world? Jamal Khashoggi’s blood is crying for Justice!”
The group said the protest is to prove to the world that Mr Khashoggi’s murder is a crime against the world.
“And that is why we are gathered here, to tell the Saudi government that injury to one is injury to all. The world abhors the evil perpetrated against Jamal. We are here to say Jamal’s life and death will never be in vain. His blood will keep speaking for generations to come and his legacy will forever remain.”
“We are here to demand only one thing from the King and the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia:“The person(s) who gave the order for the bestial murder of journalist, Jamal Ahmad Khashoggi, and the person(s) who carried the order, All of them MUST be brought to account.”
“The second reason we are gathered here is in memory of our own Nigerian journalists, too many killed in the line of duty, and in total impunity.”
“Just as we call on the Saudi government, so also, we call on the Nigerian government to put an end to impunity for crimes against journalists.”
The group also recalled the death of late Nigerian journalist, Mr Dele Giwa.
“This month, 32 years ago, we still remember the murder of journalist, Dele Giwa, killed via a parcel bomb delivered to him on October 19, 1986. That case smacks of government conspiracy.”
“We are here to tell the Nigerian government to take into account that in 32 years since Dele Giwa’s assassination, countless murders of journalists have occurred, and not one has been conclusive to bring the perpetrators to justice. We therefore call on Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, to do what any conscionable government would do:
“Order the reopening of impartial, independent, and transparent investigations into the murders of all journalists killed in the country and ensure their killers don’t go unpunished.
“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes a duty! The call was sounded, even on short notice, yet we all turned up and decided to take action to defend our civil rights,” the group said.