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Three journalists killed in Lagos and Jos

(MRA/IFEX) - Three journalists were killed in different parts of Nigeria on 24 April 2010. One of the journalists, Edo Sule-Ugbagwu, a Judicial Correspondent with the privately-owned daily newspaper "The Nation", was gruesomely murdered in his home in a suburb of Lagos by a gang of armed men at about 6.30 p.m. He was 42.

Two other journalists, Nathan Dabat and Sunday Bwade, Deputy Editor and reporter with the "Light Bearer", a publication of the Church of Christ in Nigeria, were reportedly killed in an attack in the Nassawara Gwong area of Jos, which has witnessed several incidents of ethnic and religious conflicts since the beginning of the year.

In Lagos, Sule-Ugbagwu's younger brother, Mr. Okhlaho Ugbagwu, who gave a vivid account of how his brother was killed, said the assassins pretended to be thieves but did not steal anything. According to him, "When they came into the house, I was shocked, because I did not know who opened the gate for them because our gate is always locked. They asked me: 'where is the money?' I said: 'which money? There is no money'. When we were arguing, my brother came out of the house and shouted at them 'get out of my house'".

"Meanwhile, my brother's wife was outside. They shot my brother in his head and attempted to kill me too. They shot at me but I don't think they intended to kill me because they did not shoot directly at me. They ran away immediately. I ran outside to see if I could see them, but they zoomed off in a red car," he said.

The late reporter's wife, Mariam, said they had just left the house to go shopping when he received a call on his cell phone. She heard him describing their house to the caller, after which he excused himself asking her to wait for him while he quickly went to "get something" from the house. Soon afterward, she saw a car drive by with the occupants staring at her and the car made a u-turn and drove off. She became suspicious and returned to the house to find out what was delaying her husband only to find him in a pool of blood.

Details of the circumstances which led to the death of the two other journalists, Nathan Dabat and Sunday Bwade, in Jos are still unclear. The Church, which owns their newspaper, declared them missing on 24 April, following a violent conflict which broke out in the area earlier that day. This led to a search for them in hospitals around the city, until their bodies were discovered at the Jos University Teaching Hospital Mortuary the next day, on 25 April.

The spokesman of the Special Task Force charged with maintaining peace in Jos, Brig-General Donald Orji, confirmed the death of the two journalists in the crisis but said he did not have details of the circumstances of their death. He however said that calm had returned to the area.


RECOMMENDED ACTION:

- Conduct a full and thorough investigation into the assassination of Edo Sule-Ugbagwu in Lagos and the circumstances leading to the death of Nathan Dabat and Sunday Bwade in Jos.
- Ensure that those responsible for their death are brought to justice.
- Guarantee the safety of journalists operating in Nigeria.


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
Minister for Information and Communication
Federal Ministry of Information and Communication
Radio House
Abuja, Nigeria
Tel: +234 9 234 6350, 234-9-2346351; 234-9-5237183; 234-9-5238232; 234-9-2344107
E-mail: [email protected]
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