A Nigerian radio journalist, Maxwell Nashan, has died after he was found bound, gagged and near death on a farmer’s field in Adamawa state. A newscaster with government-owned Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), he appeared to have been abducted from his home and hacked to death. Women who discovered Nashan in the early hours of Jan. 15 contacted the Nigerian Security and Civil Defense Corps personnel who rushed to the scene but were unable to save Nashan, who died shortly afterward in hospital.
The police in the state have confirmed the killing but have yet to determine whether it was tied to Nashan’s work as a journalist. Donald Didan, Adamawa state chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), called on the police to bring the killers, yet unidentified, to justice. The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists has also asked the Nigerian government to conduct a thorough investigation into the murder.
Colleagues of Nashan, who covered the Adamawa state House of Assembly and was preparing for his wedding in the days leading up to the attack, told CPJ they were not aware of any threats made against the journalist. Local police, however, said they found a message Nashan had sent from his cellphone saying his life was in danger. Nashan’s relatives described evidence of a break-in at his home in the Lainde community, where nothing but his computer was missing.
We at Peoples Daily deplore Nashan’s mindless killing. This crime against a selfless profession that works only for society’s ultimate good must not go unpunished. Nashan, as CPJ, has said, “must not become just another crime statistic, and investigators must consider whether his journalism was the motive for his killing.” According to Angela Quintal, CPJ‘s Africa programme coordinator, “Authorities in Nigeria must work to ensure the safety of reporters, which includes investigating acts of violence against members of the press.” It said, “At least five journalists have been killed in relation to their work in Nigeria since 2010.” CPJ ranks Nigeria 12th on its 2019 impunity index. This is a sad commentary on our country, but one well deserved. If we decided to shoot ourselves in the foot who was to blame?
We understand the police have arrested eight suspects in connection with the case. Good. But it must get to trial and a sentence obtained. Only then will justice be seen to have been served.