CPJ condemns FG for freezing Sahara Reporters’ GTB Accounts

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The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the Nigerian Government for freezing accounts belonging to Sahara Reporters, a US-headquartered news website.

Sahara Reporters owned by Omoyele Sowore who is currently in the detention of the Department of State Service (DSS) for planning a protest against the bad governance of President Buhari since Aug 3, 2019.

The news website has lodged a formal complaint with the CPJ notifying them of the unlawful freezing of their accounts through La Keisha Landrum Pierre, Sahara Reporters’ chief operating officer

The CPJ who tried to establish a connection between the accused and his Journalism has declared that there will be a thorough investigation into the case.

“Sahara Reporters must be permitted to keep the Nigerian public informed without intimidation,” said Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator. “Surveillance, cyberattacks, &copyright notices against Sahara Reporters mark a concerning pattern of interference and harassment of an investigative news outlet.”

The news agency also complained of victimization it has suffered in the hands of the government as they battle with paying salaries of staff members and cost of operations . The conditions was so bad they were unable to make any publication on Nov 10, 2019.

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CPJ whose officials contacted Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB) to verify the information, were told the Sahara Reporters’ account was subjected to a government hold, hence it “could not be operated”

Ijeoma Nwachukwu, the relationship manager who manages the company account declined to divulge more information on the accounts which would be a breach of “duty of confidentiality”.

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