CPJ expresses concern over safety of Sports Journalists abducted in Nigeria
The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned about the safety of two sports
journalists, one South African and one Nigerian, who were seized by unidentified gunmen
in military uniforms on Monday. The gunmen stopped a bus carrying 21 crew members of
M-Net's SuperSport channel, a South African private satellite television station, and took
the three journalists hostage, local journalists told CPJ. Another Nigerian journalist was
able to escape.
The journalists were abducted near the southern town of Owerri , Imo State , on their
way to the local airport. South African sound engineer Nic Greyling and Nigerian
commentator Bowie Attamah are being held captive while the remaining TV crew arrived
safely in Lagos , M-Net spokeswoman Caroline Creasy told CPJ.
According to national police spokesman Yemi Ajayi, Nigerian cameraman Alexander
Effiong managed to escape after the abduction. Police and security agents were
pursuing the kidnappers in both Imo and neighboring Anambra State , he added.
“We are alarmed by the abduction of these three sports journalists and fear for their
safety,” said CPJ Africa Program Coordinator Tom Rhodes . “We call on the Nigerian
authorities to make every effort possible to ensure their release.”
The crew was returning from a Nigerian premier league soccer match held on Sunday in
the nearby city of Engu , local journalists reported.
A ceasefire between rebel groups in the Niger Delta region and the government ended in
January. Militants have carried out a series of attacks in the region demanding more oil
revenues be devoted to local development. The attacks have cost Nigeria millions in lost
revenue over the years.
CPJ is a New York–based, independent, nonprofit organization that works to safeguard
press freedom worldwide. For more information, visit www.cpj.org.