The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr Mohammed Garba, on Thursday said that 13 Nigerian journalists were killed in 2012 in the course of their jobs.
Garba told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the figure was the highest in the history of the country since Independence in 1960.
“The year 2012 was a sad one for journalists because of the number of people that were killed.
“We have an authentic data that 13 people were killed last year and it is the highest in the history of Nigeria,’’ he said.
He was reacting to the announcement by the International Federation of Journalists that 121 journalists were killed worldwide in 2012.
Some of the Nigerian journalists who lost their lives in 2012 include Mr Enenche Akogwu, 31, a reporter with Channels Television who was gunned down on January 20, while trying to interview witnesses of a bombing incident in Kano.
Two camera men and a reporter also died when a tipper rammed into their convoy coming from a rally in Afuze, near Auchi in Edo, addressed by Gov. Adams Oshiohmole.
Garba described the deaths as unfortunate and sad, reiterating the need for government to ensure the safety of journalists.
“Media organisations should endeavour to provide insurance cover for journalists with them in 2013. All the journalists covering strategic areas such as Government House should be insured by the government,’’ he said.
The NUJ president expressed hope that the high number of deaths would never occur again, condemning the abuse and harassment meted to journalists in the course of doing their duties. He said that without journalists, the people would not know how they were governed, urging security agents, politicians and the populace to respect journalists doing their legitimate duties.
Some of the journalists who were allegedly harassed and injured in 2012 are Abubakar Sadiq of Daily Trust who was reportedly injured during a public hearing and Kazeem Ibrahim of the Nation Newspapers who was similarly, harassed by security agents in Akwa Ibom.