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(Credit: Nigeria Union of Journalists, screenshot)

Nigeria’s National Union of Journalists president Muhammed Garba weighed in on “recent attack on the Kano regional office of Media Trust Ltd., publishers of Trust Newspapers,” the Daily Trust reported.

Garba defended Media Trust’s journalism ethics in his Jan. 11 comments and noted he hopes “such an attack will not repeat itself on any media house in the country.”  He added that “the NUJ will not condone any form of harassment or intimidation against its members.”

The Young Journalists Forum also issued a statement saying the group “strongly condemns” the attack.

In a Jan. 5 report, the Daily Trust reported that the “attack” was in retaliation for the newspaper’s “refusing to kill” a story about the government.  The Daily Trust described the attackers as “thugs believed to be hired agents” who tried to “set ablaze” the newspaper’s plant.  The “gang” claimed to be “sent by the government to stop the paper from circulating because of a certain story,” according to the Daily Trust. The newspaper Leadership reported that police have arraigned “one of the thugs suspected.”

The Daily Trust noted that Governor Kwankwaso’s chief of staff denied that the government was behind the attack.  Kwankwoso is the governor of Nigerian state Kano.

While the plant was “saved” because police arrived, the newspaper noted that a “wind screen of a distribution van” was “smashed,” according to the Daily Trust’s report.

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The article in question was critical of the government and was prompted by Nigeria’s deputy governor’s comments that “Kwankwaso’s government would back the Federal Government on subsidy removal.”   It appears this is the article in question.

The comments were made at a Jan. 3 “press briefing.” Following the briefing, “the governor’s media aides” started asking reporters to drop or play down their reports, according to the Daily Trust. The Daily Trust also reported that “Kwankwaso’s media Aide, Jaafar Jaafar,” tried to “[buy] up all the copies” of the newspapers” when it was distributed.

The issue is controversial, the Daily Trust explained, because “Sources in the government told Daily Trust that officials feared there could be a backlash when it was seen to be backing subsidy when angry protests raged across Nigeria against it.”

According to Reporters without Borders, Nigeria is listed “145 out of 178 [countries] in the latest worldwide index” for press freedom.

We have written to the National Union of Journalists, the Daily Trust and Governor Kwankwaso’s office for more information and will update with any response.

Hat Tip: All Africa 

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Nigerian Newspaper Attacked, Says Attack was Retaliaton for Running Story Govt Didn’t Like

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