The Coalition for Whistleblower Protection and Press Freedom (CWPPF) condemns in strong terms the recent attacks on journalists and media personnel during the governorship and House of Assembly elections that took place on the 18th of March 2023 across the 28 states of the federation. 

It is disheartening to note that journalists, in the course of performing their constitutional duties of informing the public, were subjected to physical attacks, harassment, and intimidation by various actors, including politicians, political thugs, security operatives, and some citizens. 

On the 18th of March, the gubernatorial election day, The Press Attack Tracker documented nineteen (19) attacks in nine (9) states against journalists and media workers. These states include Ogun, Osun, Sokoto, Lagos, Akwa-Ibom, Benue, Edo, Kano and Nasarawa. Affected journalists include Abiodun Jamiu, Richard Obinna Ekeke, Eberechukwu Ezennaya, Taiwo Fatola, Utibe Abasi, Uko-Abasi, Vindication Alawode, Eru Happiness Ohegam, Amadi Uyi, Mansa Ayoola Adeleke, Adejoke Adeleye and Al’amin Umar who all observed elections with The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development.  Their unpalatable experience is captured in this report 

Oba Adeoye, Opeyemi Adenihun and Yusuf Hasan who are crew members of AriseTV were also physically attacked at the Elegushi Palace area of Lagos by suspected thugs on Saturday. Their equipment such as drones was seized by the thugs according to reports. 

A journalist with Breeze FM, Edwin Philip was assaulted by men of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) while covering the governorship election in Nasarawa on Saturday. According to reports, Mr Philip was beaten and left with a deep cut on his head. 

Others are Ashiru Umar of Premium Radio who was physically assaulted by thugs while covering the governorship election and House of Assembly elections in Gwale Local Government area of Kano state on Saturday.

Henrietta Oke, Amarachi Amushie, and Nkiru Nwokedi, all from African Independent Television (AIT) were physically attacked and had their equipment damaged on Saturday.

We also condemn reports of denied access at Poling Unit 048 Ijaiye, Ojokoro, Lagos on the 18th. Officials of the Independent National Electoral Commission barred journalists from covering the exercise, even as voting commenced at the PU. Journalists affected include journalists with the African Independent Television and other journalists who were at the polling unit earlier. 

A similar case happened in Ward 13 polling Unit 22, Itori Odo, Abeokuta South area of the state, Ogun where a report stated how journalists and INEC officials were attacked after an alleged All Progressive Congress (APC) agent challenged the journalists for taking pictures at the polling unit. Violence erupted and both journalists and INEC officials were chased out of their wards with axes. 

Observers with the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development were also denied access to their stations in Akwa Ibom, Edo. UtibeAbasi Uko-Abasi was denied access to the polling unit booklet. The observer with CJID was not allowed to snap the result at the collation centre in Akwa Ibom. 

Mansa Ayoola Adeleke (observer with CJID) also observing the election at Edo state was physically assaulted and thrown out of the collation centre at Urhokpota Hall, Edo state by alleged political thugs.

Journalists play a crucial role in promoting transparency and accountability in the electoral process, and it is unacceptable that they should be prevented from doing their jobs. We call on the relevant authorities to ensure that the rights of journalists and observers are respected, and protected and that those responsible for these attacks, harassment, and unlawful arrests are held accountable. 

We also call on all political parties and candidates to respect the role of the media in promoting democracy and refrain from actions that hinder the free flow of information.

Finally, we express our solidarity with all journalists and observers who have been subjected to these attacks and harassment, and we reaffirm our commitment to defending press freedom and the right to information.


CWPPF Secretariat 

The CWPPF is a group of media and civil society organisations committed to upholding democracy and good governance by protecting the ethos of whistleblowing, freedom of expression and press freedom.

CWPPF members

Premium Times

The Cable 

Daily Trust Newspaper

International Centre for Investigative Reporting (ICIR)

Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ)

Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID)

African Centre for Media & Information Literacy (AFRICMIL)

Civic Media Lab

Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC)

International Press Centre (IPC)

International Press Institute (IPI)

Media Rights Agenda (MRA)

Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ)

Paradigm Initiative

Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP)

HEDA Resources Centre.

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