Two organizations have condemned the convictions of two journalists who were arrested in 2019 after exposing smoking cannabis in businesses associated with high-ranking politicians in Nigeria.Nigeria is the world’s number one Third highest consumer of cannabis, the New Zealand Department of Health says the plant is illegal in the country. Some people think it’s a double standard between civil servants and ordinary people.
Eagle report The Commission to Protect Journalists (CPJ) and the Center for Civil Society Legislative Advocacy (CISLAC) have condemned the convictions of two young Nigerian journalists, Gidd Youschau and Alfred Orphemi, in their investigative report. The CPJ, an independent nonprofit that promotes press freedom around the world, described the conviction as a “chilling message to the Nigerian press.” Eagle called it a “disgraceful attempt to silence the Nigerian media and investigative journalism.”
Editor-in-chief by Yushou news digest He also chairs the annual Campus Journalism Awards (CJA). Orphemi is also a freelance journalist. premium time and punch, two African-based newspapers. This isn’t the first dance the publication has taken to risk. premium timefor example, exposure crime including those targeting women and civilians allegedly perpetrated by Boko Haram.
Both journalists were arrested and charged in court in 2019 after they wrote investigative reports exposing the prevalence of cannabis smoking by staff at a U.S. factory based in Kwara, Nigeria, linked to Hillcrest Agro-Allied Industries. it was done. why is that important? Hillcrest Agro Allied Industries is associated with a high-ranking official named Sara Aradea, Economic Advisor to the President, who served as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Organization leaders are concerned that the arrests are politically motivated. On February 7, Adams Salihu Mohammed, a magistrate in Ilorin, Nigeria, ordered journalists to be detained for five months on charges of “defamation and conspiracy” or he could face a large sum of N100,000 per person. ordered to pay a fine. They ended up paying a fine to avoid jail during the trial.
A Chilling Message to Nigerian Journalists
Unfortunately, according to lawyers, it does not appear to provide a fair trial for journalists.
Trial Attorney Ahmed Ibraheem Gambari, the lawyer representing one of the journalists, said after the convictions of the two, “A police report allegedly indicting our client was filed before the police were summoned. There was evidence at the trial court that there was a In other words, police found them guilty of a “crime” long before they were allowed to share parts of their stories. It was endorsed by a former employee of a rice plant who said it was common.
“Also, a former employee of the company testified in court that he not only witnessed cannabis smoking being prevalent on site, but that his continued smoking of cannabis informed the decision to terminate his employment. with the company,” said Gambari. Additionally, to substantiate his allegations, the same witness provided his bank statements proving that he received a monthly salary from the company during a period when smoking was rampant. So the conundrum remains as to how the courts found them guilty, especially in the face of this empirical evidence. ”
Angela Quintal, CPJ’s New York-based Africa program coordinator, said the two should not have been charged, let alone guilty. “The surveillance of the telecommunications used to detain a journalist and his subsequent three-plus-year trial shows just how long Nigerian authorities go to arrest and prosecute the media.” says Quintal. Said.
International human rights courts and UN bodies have repeatedly condemned the use of criminal sanctions for “defamation”.