Tuesday March 28, 2017 Lagos.
Following a string of ethnic conflicts in some parts of the country, journalists reporting the events are being threatened with death and arson, the Journalists for Democratic Rights, (JODER) has said.
JODER in a release on Tuesday signed by its Assistant Programme Office, Mr Akinwale Kasali said free speech which is one of the principles of democracy is facing renewed threat from masked individuals probably backed by some organized interests.
The group said it recorded another major threat against media institutions and peaceful coexistence on 24th March,2017 while monitoring media coverage of conflict in some selected radio and TV stations.
The group said “We call on the Nigerian Police to investigate what appeared as an organized threat against peace and some media institutions for wrongly perception of media role in the coverage of ethnic conflict.
JODER said one Hajia Aisha Ismail while calling on a phone-in programme on Petals Radio based in Ibadan specifically told the Radio presenter that she was involved in an orgnised plan to relaunch attack in Ife with arms and ammunitions and that some media institutions including Petals Radio would be dealt with while the journalists working there would attacked.
JODER said the caller was later identified by JODER through Caller ID to be one Hajia Ismail calling from Ibadan.
“We have seen a similar trend of threats against local journalists in Benue from vested interests who misconstrue the balanced role of media coverage of such conflict as bias.”
JODER said in many cases the callers hide their numbers, but that in the case of the caller to Petals Radio, the media group was able to identify her through the caller ID.
Kasali said in the case of Hajia Aisha Ismail, with registered number 08168362208, her name was identified.
In her threat, Hajia said “We are coming to attack Ife again. We are coming with arms and ammunition,” while speaking on the local programme APERO managed by the Radio Station monitored around 5:15-6 am on the said day. JODER said she claimed an organised revenge by armed groups was inevitable following the ethnic crisis Ile-Ife. The group said refusal to hearken to warning signals from the public was partly responsible for some of the ethnic clashes in some parts of the country.
“The lady was very bold and spoke with strong determination. We have provided the police with this report with the hope that the institution will investigate in order to halt another possible ethnic bloodletting.”