Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked to learn that three journalists were killed in two separate incidents on 24 April. Edo Sule Ugbagwu, a court reporter for the daily The Nation, was gunned down in his Lagos home. Nathan S. Dabak, the deputy editor of the Protestant fortnightly Light Bearer, and Sunday Gyang Bwede, one of his reporters, were hacked to death in Jos, a city torn by sectarian violence.
“These murders join the long list of cases of violence against journalists in recent years in Nigeria,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The Guardian assistant news editor Bayo Ohu was gunned down in his Lagos home by intruders just seven months ago. We once against urge the authorities to shed light on the motives for these killings. It is vital that the investigators do not rule out any hypotheses.”
Ugbagwu was shot in the head by armed intruders who forced their way into his home in the Lagos district of Sasha. His younger brother, who witnessed the shooting, told local journalists the gunmen deliberately shot Ugbagwu when he ordered them to leave his home. They left immediately afterwards.
Dabak and Bwede were travelling to a meeting by motorcycle with their driver when all three were attacked by a group of machete-wielding youths who were angered by the murder of a fellow Muslim. Located in the centre of the country, Jos has experienced months of clashes between its Christian and Muslim communities, with journalists inevitably suffering the consequences.
The police have said they are investigating both incidents but have not yet taken a position as regards the motives for these murders.
Niger was ranked 135th out of 175 countries in the 2009 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index.