A Trying Time for Investigative Journalism in Nigeria
By Rabiu Musa,
The recent arrest and illegal detention of the Editor of NewsDigest, an Abuja-based online newspaper, Mr. Gidado Shuaib, and his webmaster, Mr. Adebowale Adekoya, is one that lent further credence to the fact that, these, are indeed trying times for both the media and investigative journalism in Nigeria.
Gidado, and Adekoya, were respectively picked up in Abuja and Lagos, by police detectives in a commando-like style over the publication of an investigative report in May 2018.
The investigative report was all about the wanton consumption of Indian hemp at an agro-allied company owned by Sarah Alade, a former CBN acting Governor.
That happened last year. Not now, not recently. Not this year.
However, it is now, a year and a half after the story was published, that the police deemed it fit to do the needful. But are they really doing the needful?
No! The four detectives that arrested Gidado and Adekoya were only doing the bidding of the ‘powerful woman’ who owns the factory.
While the NewsDigest publisher and his webmaster may have been released, the sting operation-like arrest will definitely discourage young investigative journalists, who not only have a burning passion, but are ready to stake their lives in order to excavate corrupt practices in the corridors of power, and other public institutions.
Yes, it will discourage them from embarking on doing investigative stories.
As it is now, many budding investigative reporters and campus journalists, may choose to ‘siddon look’, instead of reporting fraudulent practices in their schools, community and in government circles.
For them, silence is surely, and somewhat golden in trying times like this.
But this will not augur well for us, our immediate society, individual communities and Nigeria, at large.
Therefore, let us say it the way it is. Plain. blunt. And unequivocally. The action of the Police is illegal, and unconstitutional. Hence, we must condemn it in totality.
There are many criminal elements out there holding the nation to ransom. In fact, they seem to be untouchable.
The police will not be doing us a great disservice if they don’t channel their energy and inadequate resources to hounding them.
But they will be incurring the fury of well-meaning Nigerians if they don’t persist in executing the hatchet job of arresting and detaining journalists for incredulous reasons.
Musa is a student of Information and Media Studies, at Bayero University, Kano.
He can be reached at:08140908651 and at,