Nigerian presidential candidate of the main opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari and vice-presidential candidate Yemi Osinbajo attend a campaign rally on January 19, 2015 in Kaduna. Buhari will face President Goodluck Jonathan ~ CHRIS STEIN
Lagos - The violation of the rights of media personnel would compromise the credibility of the general elections the country is preparing to hold, a media rights group said.
The sentiments of the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) follow the detention of two journalists for “loitering” at a site the military was conducting operations against terrorists.
Their employer meanwhile disputed the loitering version, insisting the journalists were covering a story on military activities in the area as part of a broader election coverage.
The detention came days ahead of elections scheduled for Saturday.
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“Nigerian authorities and the military should understand that the credibility of the election is dependent in large part on the media, both local and foreign, being allowed to report freely,” said Peter Nkanga, CPJ's West Africa representative.
He thus called for the immediate release of the journalists.
“We call on the military to release Ahmed Idris and Mustafa Ali from their hotel, return their camera, and allow every journalist the freedom to document the electoral process before, during, and after the vote,” added Nkanga.
Nkanga’s reaction follows reports the military authorities had confined two journalists to their hotel room and have forbidden them from leaving their hotel in Maiugiri, the Borno State capital.
CPJ reported both local and international journalists had been targeted in the run-up to the elections.
Authorities have reportedly denied visas and accreditation to dozens of journalists seeking to cover the elections, according to reports.