04 Jan Nigeria: Safety Concerns Arise for Journalist Exposing Fake Degree Syndicate
By Ahmad Hadizat Omayoza, Mamos Nigeria
In a recent revelation by Nigerian investigative journalist Umar Audu, concerns over personal safety have taken center stage. Audu, who operates with Daily Nigeria newspaper, uncovered a fake results syndicate operating in Togo and Benin Republic through an in-depth investigative report.
The journalist disclosed that he managed to secure a degree within a mere six weeks of enrollment in one of these dubious universities. Shockingly, Audu not only obtained a degree but also served as a corps member in the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), presenting the obtained certificate.
Speaking exclusively to Channels Television, Audu expressed apprehension about the state of security for journalists in Nigeria. He highlighted the lack of confidence in the current security system, emphasizing the need for journalists to carry out their work without the constant fear of victimization.
Although Audu has not received explicit threats thus far, he has taken precautions by distancing himself from public exposure to prioritize his safety. In the interview, he underscored the importance of a society where journalists can fulfill their roles peacefully and without intimidation.
Addressing the issue, Audu called upon authorities to ensure his protection, acknowledging the uncertainty of what might transpire in the aftermath of his report going viral. He expressed hope that the government remains vigilant and pledged to promptly seek protection if any threats materialize.
When questioned about the cost of obtaining the fake certificate, Audu revealed a financial outlay of approximately N600,000. He clarified that he did not physically cross borders but enlisted the assistance of an immigration officer for an ECOWAS passport and a backdated stamp of Nigerian Immigration and Benin, incurring an additional N150,000.
As Audu navigates these uncertain waters, the broader conversation on the safety of journalists in Nigeria gains prominence, urging authorities to address the issue and uphold the principles of a free and secure press.