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Cameraman found dead in suspicious circumstances

(RSF/IFEX) - Reporters Without Borders said is deeply shocked by the death in unexplained circumstances of cameraman Jerry Usanga of Channels Television, whose body was found on the roadside by passers-by, on 4 May 2010.

The spot where Usanga's body was found, in Calabar, Cross River state in the south-east of the country, is close to the headquarters of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). Police were called and certified the journalist's death, but his body bore no mark of injury and it remains unclear whether he was killed or died accidentally.

"We urge the investigators to quickly shed light on this case, not to rule out any lead and to take seriously the possibility he was murdered", the worldwide press freedom organisation said. "Nigeria is one of the world's most violent countries towards journalists. Three journalists have been killed there in the past two weeks and many have received death threats. It is about time that the police put an end to the impunity enjoyed by the killers of journalists".

Reporters Without Borders said it noted the statement by police in Lagos on 4 May to do everything possible to "solve the mystery of the murders of Nigerian journalists". The organisation however is looking for concrete steps on the part of the authorities which have never solved the majority of killings of journalists.

Nigeria is ranked 135th out of 175 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2009 world press freedom index. Ogbonna Onovo, the Inspector General of the Nigerian police force, was included for the first time in the organisation's list of 40 'press freedom predators', released on 3 May.

Acting president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, was on 6 May sworn in as president, replacing President Umaru Yar'Adua, who died the previous day after a long illness.

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