Concern for two journalists kidnapped five days ago in the Niger Delta
|Publisher||Reporters Without Borders|
|Publication Date||5 March 2010|
|Cite as||Reporters Without Borders, Concern for two journalists kidnapped five days ago in the Niger Delta, 5 March 2010, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4b94b55f1a.html [accessed 21 September 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
Reporters Without Borders today expressed deep concern about the plight of two sports journalists working for South African M-Net Supersport television who were kidnapped on 1st March and are still being held hostage.
South African producer Nick Greyling and Nigerian sports commentator Bowie Attamah were snatched close to airport in Owerri, capital of the south-eastern state of Imo, while they were heading to Lagos on a bus.
A third journalist abducted with them, Nigerian cameraman Alexander Effiong, managed to escape from his kidnappers the following day and is currently safe in Lagos.
"While hopes were high that the two journalists would be quickly released, it is worrying that they are still being held hostage. We back the efforts of the Nigerian authorities, particularly acting president, Goodluck Jonathan, and the chief of the Imo state police force in seeking to make contact with the kidnappers so that the hostages will be released as soon as possible," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.
"Kidnapping is widespread in Nigeria, frequently directed against foreign workers with major oil companies and involving ransom demands. The always cowardly practice of kidnapping is all the more absurd when it is aimed at journalists whose financial means are very limited," the organisation continued.
The day Effiong escaped his captors, on 2 March, managing director of M-Net Supersport in Nigeria, Felix Awogu, said of the hostages, "I am very positive about their imminent release. I am sure that very soon, they will be set free." But two days later he told Reporters Without Borders, "I regret to tell you that the two journalists are still in the hands of their captors. I remain confident about the outcome of this case, but we will have to be patient."
Nigeria is ranked 135th out of 175 countries in Reporters Without Borders' 2009 world press freedom index, chiefly because of the high number of arbitrary arrests and high levels of violence to which journalists are subjected.
Deputy editor of the daily newspaper The Guardian, Bayo Ohu, was murdered outside his home in the Lagos suburbs on 20 September 2009.
Moreover, the State Security Service has for several years been on Reporters Without Borders' list of press freedom predators.