Is Nigeria’s absence from the global impunity index proof of better press freedom and human rights, as the Minister of Justice said?

During the political dialogue, Malami said Nigeria had been on the impunity index “for the past decade” before President Muhammadu Buhari came to power in 2015.

We have asked the Department of Justice to clarify what timeframe it was referring to and we will update this report with its response.

Buhari’s administration replaced that of the People’s Democratic Party, in power since 1999.

Contrary to what Malami claims, Nigeria was on the index for the first four years of Buhari’s tenure. In 2015, the country ranked 13th out of 14 countries on the index. He was also featured every year from 2016 to 2019.

CPJ started to compile the index in 2008. Nigeria first appeared in 2013, only falling for the first time in 2020.

“Nigeria’s absence from our impunity index in 2020 and 2021 has nothing to do with alleged actions taken by the Nigerian government,” Jonathan Rozen, senior researcher with CPJ’s Africa program, told Africa Check.

Nigeria’s absence is purely because the index is based on the past decade, a 10-year window that moves forward with time, he said.

For example, from 2020, the murder of the journalist Bayo ohu in 2009 fell outside this window.

“Only countries with five or more unresolved cases within the 10-year period are included in the index, so removing Ohu’s murder from this window reduced the number of calculated killings and brought Nigeria down. of the index. This fact was also noted in the 2020 Impunity Index report, ”Rozen said.

For its index, CPJ calculates the number of unsolved journalist murders as a percentage of each country’s population. Murder is defined as the willful killing of a specific journalist in retaliation for the victim’s work. (Note: To learn more about the methodology used in the index, read here.)

At least 12 Nigerian journalists were deliberately killed for their work between 1992 and 2021, according to watchdog records.

“Some cases go unreported”

Some cases of assault, harassment, illegal detention and murder of journalists go unreported, Shuaibu Liman, national secretary of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, says Africa Check.

“The impunity index does not fully reflect the current experience of Nigerian journalists. Some cases go unreported. Virtually all cases of murder of journalists, since the murder of Dele Giwa in 1986, remain unresolved, ”he said.

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