Nigerian journalist robbed in Ghana

Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama
Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama

A senior Nigerian journalist has been robbed in Ghana.
Martin-Luther Chukwuemeka King, veteran Nigerian journalist who has covered West Africa for over 10 years, lost his laptop, communications equipment, cash and other valuables after his hotel room in Accra was burgled.
King, president of Journalists for Regional Integration (JORIN), a pan-West African network of journalists championing fast-track sub-regional integration, was also robbed of his Nigerian passport and other travel documents at Hotel C’est Si Bon, Kokomlemle, Accra where he was lodging.
He was in Accra on official assignment for West African Post, a weekly publication by The Sun newspapers in partnership with Tempus Communications. King is a partner in Tempus Communications which provides content for West African Post.
“I returned from an appointment the night of Friday October 23, 2015 to discover that someone, or some people, had entered my room at Hotel C’est Si Bon, Kokomlemle, Accra, tampered with my suitcase and stolen my property. Curiously there were no signs of violent entry on the door or anywhere, suggesting an insider job and that the criminal (s) may have had access to the pool of room spare-keys that hotels normally keep ,” King said.
Items stolen include a Nigerian passport and return ticket to Lagos; sums of money in various currencies; 2 Dell Inspiron laptops with vital documents and official work at various stages of completion on them; one Samsung video camera; one Samsung still camera; one ipad; one world receiver radio set; one solar-powered audio bible; two mp3 voice recorders and one Vodafone internet modem with data among other valuables.
The case was immediately reported to the Nima police station, the Ghana Tourism Authority
(GTA), Ghana’s tourism sector’s supervisory authority, the Nigeria High Commission in Accra as well as the Ghana Journalists Association (GJA).
It took 19 days before the Ghana police made the first arrest in respect of the crime – the security man on duty at the hotel on the night of the robbery – on November 11. Between the date of reporting the incident and the date of the arrest, no searches were conducted, giving sufficient time for the stolen items to be disposed of and chances of recovery to whittle down to nil.
King is convinced that the police is not showing diligence in investigation and possible recovery because the victim is not a Ghanaian. “Being Nigerian makes the case worse. I’ve been resident in this country for years and I know how prejudiced Ghanaian officialdom can sometimes be towards Nigerians”, King said.
On the part of the Nigeria High Commission in Accra, it took nine days to elicit any response. A female diplomat, who refused to give her name, called the journalist only to direct him to go to Abuja
to replace his stolen passport. Nigerian Charge d’affaires in Accra, Oluropo Obasola Osasuna,
later told the journalist to take his loss as a professional hazard, adding that the reporter ought to have registered his lost valuables, including work tools, with the High Commission.
The Ghanaian media has kept mute over the matter. “In what appears to be either prejudice against Nigerians or a misapplication of patriotism, but in clear breach of professional solidarity, Ghanaian media, including the two major Ghanaian dailies, Daily Graphic and Daily Guide as well as the country’s largest radio/television network, Joy, have mostly displayed a conspiracy of silence towards this issue. They all have conducted interviews with me, but none has published or broadcast”, King says.
“But Ghana Journalists Association (GJA) president Affail Monney, expressed shock at
the incident and promised to consult with his executives for an official reaction”, he adds.
King, formerly known as Martin Luther Ekeke started his journalism career at The Guardian
newspaper in 1993. He was also a foundation staff of a number of Nigerian dailies, including Thisday , The Post Express and The Anchor newspapers. He was variously head of Thisday’s foreign desk, deputy Saturday editor of The Post Express and deputy daily editor of The Anchor in charge of Foreign/Diplomatic news before migrating to the international media where he worked as West Africa
editor for the London-based magazine, Africa Today , as well as correspondent for South Africa’s Meda24 group. He was also a freelance analyst for BBC world service.
While Ghana is recognised as having a press freedom environment, journalists are not nessarily safe in the country, especially when assessed on UNESCO’s safety of journalists indicators. In the last 10 years, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) recorded a total of 138 incidents of violations against journalists and media workers, representing an average of nearly 14 violations a year in Ghana, said MFWA’s executive director, Sulemana Braimah. He adds that the lack of a conscious and determined effort on the part of the state to punish crimes committed against journalists had the potential of fostering impunity and emboldening perpetrators and potential ones to commit further violations.
Braimah, therefore, called on all stakeholders to ensure the protection of journalists as clearly articulated in UNESCO’s safety of journalists indicators.

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