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Nigeria23 August 2006

Deaths threats against Daily Independent political affairs editor

Reporters Without Borders voiced concern today about death threats in the past week against Wole Olujobi, a political affairs editor with the privately-owned Daily Independent newspaper, who suspects the governor of the southwestern state of Ekiti of being responsible for this attempt to intimidate him.

“The Ekiti state police should take these threats seriously,” the press freedom organisation said. “The police should pay attention to what is happening to Olujobi, who is requesting police protection, and they should show that intimidation of the press is a thing of the past in Nigeria. Only a thorough investigation will enable the identification and punishment of those responsible.”

Olujobi, whose job title is production editor (politics), alerted the Ekiti state police chief after two men in plain clothes visited his home in the Lagos district of Ojokoro at 6: 30 a.m. on 17 August. In a report published in his newspaper two days later, he said the two visitors asked his co-tenant for a Daily Independent journalist living in the house. They said their company had paid him a large sum of money to get a story published on 16 August, but the story had not appeared and they wanted to talk to him about it. Sensing the danger, his co-tenant told them no journalist lived there.

In the same article, Olujobi reported that he received a text message from an anonymous source on his mobile phone on the evening of 18 August that referred to this visit and told him he had been monitored throughout that day. “You went to the commissioner of police (...) We were misinformed. We would have killed all the four occupants in the red car at Ikeja, but we thought otherwise.”

Olujobi suspects Ekiti governor Ayodele Fayose of being behind the threats in part because Fayose recently expressing displeasure about his coverage of the political crisis in Ekiti and the use of violence to settle political scores there. Also Ayodeji Daramola, a ruling party candidate to replace Fayose as governor, was murdered outside his home in the city of Ijan-Ekiti on 14 August. Daramola happens to have been Olujobi’s cousin.

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