A Nigerian journalist, Lawan Adamu [above], has been arrested in the desert town of Agadez, Niger Republic, while on mission to investigate migration of Africans to Europe through the town.
Agadez, a gateway between West and North Africa, is a famous transit point for thousands of African migrants who are transported across the Sahara Desert to Libya for onward journey to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea.
Thousands of such migrants have reached Europe which is now battling with a huge refugee crisis including those from war-torn Syria, while many of the African migrants also die on the Mediterranean Sea while trying to embark on the risky journey.
Speaking to PREMIUM TIMES from his detention centre in Agadez, Mr. Adamu, who is the Deputy Editor, Daily Trust on Sunday, said before embarking on the journey, he sought clearance from the Consulate of Niger Republic in Kano, where his documents were signed and stamped to go on the mission.
He said he was arrested on the outskirt of Agadez after his travel documents and pass had been previously verified by security officials at more than 10 checkpoints.
According to him, the Nigerien authorities insisted that the consulate made error by stamping his documents to go on the reporting mission.
“But I told them that they made no error because my mission was clearly stated at the consulate.
“Assuming they made the error, is it fair to subject me to this treatment because of somebody’s error?” he told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone chat.
Mr. Adamu, who said he was subjected dehumanizing treatments at the detention facility, has been in detention since Saturday afternoon.
The Associate Director (Editorial) of Daily Trust, Mahmud Jega, confirmed the arrest of Mr. Adamu to PREMIUM TIMES, saying as an ECOWAS citizen, Niger authorities had no grounds to arrest Mr. Adamu for carrying out a lawful duty.
“Despite the fact that he is an ECOWAS citizen, he nevertheless sought permission from the Niger Republic Consulate in Kano before embarking on the trip,” Mr. Jega said.
He said the company was making effort to secure his release.
By Stephen Lawan