Journalist Escapes Assassination by Suspected ISWAP Members

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On August 19, 2022, Okodili Ndidi, The Nation newspaper defence correspondent in Abuja, narrowly escaped assassination from armed men suspected to be members of the Islamic State of West African Province (ISWAP) terror group, who invaded his home in Karishi, on the outskirts of Abuja.

Okodili said he had been receiving death threats, following his report on the killing of top ISWAP Commander, Alhaji Modu, aka Bem Bem, by the Nigerian military.

The would-be assassins stormed his house around 7 pm riding on motorbikes, shouting “Allah hu Akbar”, a popular slogan used by Boko Haram and ISWAP fighters. They came around 7pm shortly after he returned from work.

Narrating the event, he said he was removing his laptops and other items from his car after returning from work when he heard the sound of approaching motor bikes. He said he peeped through the gate and saw riders on more than six motor bikes riding down the dusty road that leads to his house and because that was quite unusual, he scaled the fence and escaped. Fortunately, his wife and children were not at home at the time

He said from where he was hiding, he could hear them banging on the gate and chanting Allah hu Akbar. According to him, they stayed for over 40 minutes before they drove off and that shortly after they left while he was still in his hideout, he heard his wife drive in with the kids.

Okodili said: “Before the attack, I have been leaving in fear, it has been tormenting because I don’t know when I may be hit by the terrorists’ bullet or be abducted and maybe slaughtered like an animal”.

He recalled that two of his close colleagues were abducted by the terrorists in Borno State, and that he had been receiving death threats from unknown persons who were calling him with unregistered phone numbers.

He said although he has reported the matter to the police, he has had to go into hiding with his family because he knows there is little they can do to protect him and his family under this circumference.

Okodili appealed to the authorities to come to his rescue saying, “it is really traumatizing. As a journalist, covering the ongoing anti-terror war has severally exposed me to danger but not to this extent. I am worried but I won’t give up until the terrorists are defeated”.