Nigeria: Journalist shot dead while covering protest

Precious Owolabi, a reporter for Channels Television, was shot dead on 22 July while covering a protest by members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) in Abuya. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) mourn his killing and urge authorities to open a thorough investigation to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Nigerian soldiers parade the streets of Abuja during clashes between members of the shiite Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN) and policemen on July 22, 2019. Credits: Kola SULAIMON / AFP

According to the NUJ, Precious Owolabi was covering the protest when he was hit by a stray bullet that killed him instantly. The NUJ was not able to confirm who fired the fatal shot.

He was among at least 13 other people, including a police officer, who were killed and several others injured during clashes between protesters and security officers, local media reports say. Violence broke out during a march organised by the members of IMN to demand for the release of their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El- Zakzaky.

In a statement, the NUJ said that until now, “journalists normally didn’t have to worry too much about safety issues out of war zones or other conflict areas. However, today unfortunately media professionals are facing a whole new set of occupational hazards.

IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “We mourn the death of our colleague Precious Owolabi and urge authorities to ensure justice is done for him and to take the safety of  journalists seriously. The Government must do everything under its power to ensure that impunity does not take hold in Nigeria."

For more Information, please contact the IFJ - Africa Office

1st Floor, Maison de la Presse, 5 Rue X Corniche, Medina,

BP 64257, Dakar, Senegal

Tel: +221- 33 867 95 86/87; Fax: +221- 33 827 02