The Press House, association of press organs of the Niger, as well as Reporters without borders (RSF) condemned Thursday the imprisonment of Samira Sabou, a journalist-blogger in niger, they accused of defamation in its publications on the case of overage costs at the time of purchases of military equipment for the army.
The House of the press, which brings together 30 associations of media people in niger, expressed his “indignation” and she said “to condemn the detention of Samira Sabou”, in a statement released Thursday.
“Without judging the merits of the case, no journalist is prosecuted for acts that fall within and without ambiguity of his business should find himself deprived of his liberty”, has denounced Arnaud Froger, manager of the Africa bureau of RSF. “This arrest is a step back very dangerous and empty it of its substance the legislation on the press in 2010 that the ban preventive detention for journalists was a major step forward.”
“We urge the nigerien authorities not to undermine the efforts made in recent years in terms of freedom of the press. This journalist should be released,” he concludes.
Samira Sabou has been placed in custody Wednesday after a libel complaint filed by the son and deputy chief of staff of president Mahamadou Issoufou [Sani Mahamadou Issoufou is the director of the cabinet assistant to the president],” according to several relatives of the journalist on their pages in Facebook and in groups WhatsApp.
A source close to the complainant “confirmed” to AFP the complaint to be motivated by “accusations” made by the journalist in a post on facebook. This post of the 26th of may, still visible, has a businessman friend of the son of the president of “capture the markets of the ministry of Defence in the name of the son of the boss.”
The case of overage costs making a lot of noise in Niger after the broadcast on the social networks of extracts from an audit report on these irregularities. According to these extracts, these malpractices are hundreds of millions of euros.
The justice had announced on 8 April to open an investigation on the case which broke out in February.
At the end of February, the government announced that an audit requested by the president Issoufou had revealed the overage costs as well as the deliveries not made to the army, which has been fighting for 2015 jihadists in the south-east and west of the country.
The scandal was all the more shocked at the opinion that between December 2019 and January 2020, nearly 200 soldiers from niger were killed in attacks by jihadists.
On 15 march, violent clashes had opposed the forces of order and protesters calling for sanctions in this scandal. At least three figures of the civil society are still incarcerated.