Reporters Without Borders voiced impatience and anger today at the Nigerian authorities after a murder attempt last night in Benin City on Peter Iwelomen, the editor of the community magazine Esan, in what is the latest in a series of violent attacks on journalists in Nigeria.
"We call on President Olusegun Obasanjo to finally stir himself and start taking this violence seriously," the organisation said. "Nigerian journalists have had to cope with police violence and a chaotic society for years, but our concern mounts with this kind of attack, the like of which we have not seen for some time."
Reporters Without Borders added that it wanted the police to make a special effort to solve the murder attempt and give Iwelomen protection.
Iwelomen left his Benin City officer at around 8 p.m. yesterday and was driving home when he noticed he was being followed by another car. He accelerated, but the other car gave chase and the gunmen aboard it opened fire from a close distance, hitting his car but failing to hit Iwelomen himself.
The attempt on Iwelomen’s life comes less than a week after an armed attack on Simon Ebegbulem and Osaro Okhomina, who are both Benin City correspondents of one of the biggest Lagos dailies, The Vanguard. Five men brandishing pistols burst into their office at around 8 p.m. on 27 August, held all the staff at gunpoint and roughed up the two journalists, accusing of writing lies. They finally left.
Ebegbulem and Okhomina, who notified their office about the incident, said they did not know the precise motive.