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Negative signs from police investigating newspaper journalist's murder

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the conduct of the investigation into the murder of Bayo Ohu, the assistant news editor of the Lagos-based daily "The Guardian", who was shot dead at his home in a Lagos suburb on 20 September 2009.

The police, who claimed during the week of 15 March that they had found the people who killed Ohu, are still insisting that he was shot in the course of a break-in although there are strong indications that he was the victim of a targeted killing related to his work as a journalist.

"The authorities must act with the utmost transparency and not rule out any hypothesis," Reporters Without Borders said. "They should avoid what happened with the August 2008 murder of Paul Abayomi Ogundeji, in which the police conducted a rather sloppy and superficial investigation and concluded that he was shot by robbers. The authorities should use this case to show they are capable of conducting a proper investigation."

Ohu was at home with his children when several unidentified men knocked at his door at 7 a.m. on 20 September 2009. He was shot several times as soon as he opened. Before fleeing, the gunmen took his laptop and mobile phone. A witness said one of the assailants cried "The fool is dead" before they left in a white Toyota Camry with the licence number HH 50 EKY, which was later found by the police.

The police held a press briefing on 15 March in which they paraded three suspects alleged to have shot Ohu during a break-in. However, the police did not present any new evidence and only journalists from two TV stations, the state-owned Nigeria Television Authority and the privately-owned Independent Television, and from newspaper, "The Guardian", were allowed to attend.

By excluding opposition media and journalists who have criticised the investigation from the news conference, the police gave credence to those who accuse them of showing no real interest in shedding light on Ohu's death.

Aged 45, Ohu was married and had five children.

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