Coalition Condemns Attack on Journalist by Mob

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The Coalition of Whistleblowers Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF), of which Media Rights Agenda (MRA) is a member, has issued a strong condemnation of the attack on Mr. Sinafi Omanga, a reporter with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), by a mob led by military personnel in Abuja on March 30, 2023.

Sinafi was attacked by a mob for about two hours for trying to record an incident of jungle justice being meted out against two men accused of stealing a mobile phone.

The CWPPF, in a statement issued on April 4, 2023, said it was deeply concerned about the attack on Sinafi and the implications it has for press freedom in Nigeria, adding “Journalists must be able to carry out their professional duties of reporting on issues of public interest without fear of violence or reprisals and the government has an obligation to protect them.”

The attack on the journalist was led by a man and a woman who identified themselves as soldiers in the Nigerian Army, with the man wearing an army uniform. Sinafi was physically assaulted, threatened with death, and forced to pay N4,000 into a third party’s account before his phone, which had been confiscated, was returned to him.

The Coalition called on the Nigerian government to take immediate action to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice and to also take steps to ensure the safety and protection of journalists in the country, saying attacks on journalists are becoming all too common and that they are a threat to press freedom and democracy.

CWPPF said it stands in solidarity with Sinafi and “all journalists in Nigeria who are risking their lives to report the truth and hold those in power accountable.”

The group said it will continue to advocate for press freedom and the protection of whistleblowers in Nigeria and around the world.

The CWPPF is a group of media and civil society organizations committed to upholding democracy and good governance by protecting the ethos of whistleblowing, freedom of expression and press freedom.

It comprises of 16 organisations including Media Rights Agenda (MRA), Premium Times, The Cable, Daily Trust Newspaper, International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR), Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID), African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL), and Civic Media Lab.

The rest are Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC), International Press Centre (IPC), International Press Institute (IPI), Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Paradigm Initiative, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), and HEDA Resources Centre.