Ameriques Asie Europe Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
Nigeria25 October 2007

Journalists harassed by governor of northern state

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the way governor Ali Modu Sheriff of the northern state of Borno has hounded journalists for the past 10 days. After criticising his lavish spending, James Garuba of the Tribune, Michael Olabode of This day, another privately-owned daily, and several other reporters were arrested twice last week by the State Security Service, the main domestic intelligence agency, and then placed under its daily control.

“Such autocratic behaviour on the part of a governor is a disturbing sign for democracy in Nigeria,” the press freedom organisation said. “It is intolerable that provincial authorities can do as they wish with journalists and that the SSS carries out their dirty work. The despotic excesses of certain governors must stop obstructing press freedom.”

SSS operatives raided a series of newspapers on 15 October and took Garuba, Olabode and several other journalists to their Borno state headquarters for writing about Sheriff’s decision to spend more than 1.2 million naira (about 6,000 euros) on gifts for his supporters for Ramadan and criticising it as wasteful in a largely under-developed state.

The SSS repeated the raids a few days later, again making forcing the journalist to accompany them. “There were held for several hours” and were “made to write statements explaining how they got wind of the affair,” said Abubakar Haruna, the Borno correspondent of the privately-owned Daily Independent. They were finally released, but on the condition that they report to SSS headquarters every day.

In this country
22 January - Nigeria
Investigation into journalist’s murder entrusted to judicial police
20 January - Nigeria
Journalist escapes attack on her home by armed men
28 November - Nigeria
Four journalists face trial over article suggesting President in poor health
18 November - Nigeria
Online journalist Emmanuel Emeka Asiwe freed after one week
4 November - Nigeria
Second online journalist arrested in one week

in the annual report
Nigeria - Annual Report 2008
Nigeria - Annual Report 2007
Nigeria - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

Sign the petitions
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists