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Newspaper correspondent receives death threat

(MRA/IFEX) - On 20 December 2009, Mr. Saxone Akhaine, a correspondent for the Lagos-based daily newspaper "The Guardian", reported that he had received a death threat via a SMS text message. The threat was linked to his reporting in the newspaper.

Mr. Akhaine, who is based in Kaduna in northern Nigeria, said the text message, which came from a cell phone with the number 08132283200 at 8:46 a.m., read: "If you write rubbish again in this Kaduna you will be missing for ever."

He said he called the telephone number and someone who referred to himself as the driver for Mr. Umar Sani, the director general of media and publicity for the Kaduna state governor, answered the call and said: "Yes, my Oga (boss) is not around now; he left his phone in the car. But I will deliver your message and he will call you back."

Not satisfied with the response, Mr. Akhaine said he called Sani on his official phone number to complain about the text message. He said Sani denied ownership of the mobile phone number used to send the death threat.

Mr. Akhaine added, however, that Sani remarked: "I must say that some of my boys are not happy with some of your recent reports. I will find out if any of them did send the text message. Certainly I don't have such a phone number among my phone numbers."

"By now you should be used to such things. How many years have you been on the job? Ignore the text. I will personally investigate the source of the text message," Sani added.

On 20 September, Mr. Akhaine's colleague, Mr. Bayo Ohu, who was "The Guardian"'s news editor, was murdered in his home in Lagos. His killers have not yet been found.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

Send appeals to authorities
- calling for an investigation into the death threat against Mr. Akhaine
- urging the Nigerian Police to implement measures to ensure the safety of Mr. Akhaine and other journalists


APPEALS TO:

Mr. Ogbonnaya Onovo
Inspector General of Police
Force Headquarters
Loius Edet House
Shehu Shagari Way
Area 11 Garki
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9 234 0633 / 0422
Fax: +234 9 234 0422
E-mail: [email protected]

Prof. Dora Akunyili
Hon. Minister for Information and National Orientation
Federal Ministry of Information Radio House
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9 234 6350 / 6351 / 4107, +234 9 523 7183 / 8232
E-mail: [email protected]

Arch. Mohammed Namadi Sambo
Executive Governor
Kaduna State
Sir Kashim Ibrahim House
Government House
Kaduna
Tel: +234 62 417 817
Fax: +234 62 417 232
E-mail: [email protected]

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