Bank account of Sahara Reporters owned by activist, Omoyele Sowore has been frozen by the Nigerian Government.
The news website, Sahara Reporters owned by the re-arrested activist, Omoyele Sowore bank account was allegedly frozen by the Nigerian government without an advance notice in October and has significantly hindered the operations of the media house and the government also allegedly disabled the website separately twice due to allegations of copyright infringement, and its staff reported cyberattacks and increased surveillance outside their Lagos office.
In a statement released by the Committee to Protect Journalists on Wednesday December 11, the group confirmed that Sahara Reporters’ Nigeria-based account with Guaranty Trust Bank was frozen without warning in October.
La Keisha Landrum Pierre, Sahara Reporters’ chief operating officer told CPJ that the news platform struggled to pay operating costs and salaries and was unable to publish for a day on November 10.
“Surveillance, cyberattacks, and copyright notices against Sahara Reporters mark a concerning pattern of interference and harassment of an investigative news outlet,” Pierra told CPJ.
Pierre said the entire site was “separately taken down for several hours each on October 16 and November 17 in relation to a copyright complaint under U.S. law.”
“Staff report cyber attacks and increased surveillance outside their Lagos office,” CPJ said.
Angela Quintal, CPJ’s Africa program coordinator said;
“Sahara Reporters must be permitted to keep the Nigerian public informed without intimidation.
Reports also states that when Ijeoma Nwachukwu, a relationship manager with Guaranty Trust Bank was contacted, she declined to reveal details about specific accounts because of “duty of confidentiality.”