Senegal: CPJ says Nigerian military threatens journalist

Dakar, Senegal (PANA) - The Nigerian military should cease threatening freelance journalist Ahmad Salkida with prosecution for not acting as an informer, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has said.

In a statement, made available to PANA in Dakar, Senegal, on Friday, the press freedom watchdog revealed that the military had said the journalist could face terrorism charges if he did not reveal his source by providing information he gained in the course of his reporting on the militant group Boko Haram.

"Journalists must sometimes rely on the trust of dangerous people. Coercing them to become informants risks putting all journalists under suspicion and in danger," CPJ West Africa Representative, Peter Nkanga, remarked.

"Nigeria's military should not threaten Ahmad Salkida and instead ensure that he is free to work."

According to CPJ, Nigeria's Military spokesman, Col. Sani Kukasheka Usman, declared Salkida and two civil society workers - Aisha Wakil and Ahmed Bolori - "wanted for interrogation" regarding the location of over 200 Chibok school girls Boko Haram abducted in April 2014.

Col. Usman was said to have invoked the 2011 Terrorism Prevention Act, under which "Nigerians could be punished for failure to disclose information about terrorists or terrorists' activities."

The press freedom watchdog also pointed out that on 16 August, Nigerian Director of Defence Information, Brig.-Gen. Rabe Abubakar, said that the military was only inviting Salkida and the two civil society workers for questioning.

"We are only inviting them to shed light on pending issues that will support current military efforts, and not to arrest them," Abubakar was quoted as saying.

Salkida was said to have written on his personal blog on 15 August that he would accept the military's invitation.

The journalist also told CPJ that he believed the military was trying to punish him for his persistent reporting on Boko Haram since 2006.

He said that he had returned to Nigeria three times since May 2015 at the invitation of various federal government agencies.

Salkida told CPJ that he feared for his life, and that anonymous callers had threatened him about his articles and posts to social media websites and his contacts with Boko Haram.

The statement added that Salkida had received similar threats in the past and CPJ reported at the time.

Salkida has been covering Boko Haram since mid-2006 and Police detained him in 2009 over his reports on the activities of the militant group when he was a reporter for the independent Daily Trust newspaper.

He was said to have fled his home in the northern Nigerian city of Maiduguri in July 2011 after callers identifying themselves as Boko Haram members threatened him with death, following the publication of his profile of Boko Haram's first suicide bomber.

Meanwhile, according to the statement, Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for attacks that have killed thousands of people, including Nigerian television journalist Zakariya Isa, who the organization claimed was a spy for the government.
-0- PANA MLJ/VAO 19Aug2016

19 august 2016 15:13:46




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