U.S. Grants Nigerian Journalist Ohimai Amaize Asylum
Ohimai Amaize, a journalist, media personality and publisher of SIGNAL has been granted asylum by the United States government.
Amaize fled Nigeria on 11th June 2019 for the United States over threats of arrest for treason and incitement for presenting the popular Kakaaki Social on Africa Independent Television (AIT). His exit from the country followed the shutdown of AIT by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Amaize’s asylum approval in the United States comes in record time. The U.S. grants asylum to individuals who have been able to substantiate claims of persecution in their home country, especially where such attacks are linked to their political opinion, religious beliefs and other fundamental rights.
“I have just received notice of my asylum approval. My forced exit from Nigeria last year has been a very traumatizing experience for me and my family. I am very happy and thank God for this development. I can now live and carry on with my life without the fear of being persecuted by the Muhammadu Buhari regime for the opinions that I express or the work that I do as a journalist. Of course I miss Nigeria so much and there is no place like home. I hope that in the not too distant future, Nigeria will return to a true democracy where a free press, freedom of expression and the rule of law are respected”, Amaize said about the development.
The journalist appreciated those who supported him, especially AIT, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), Human Rights First and his American lawyers, Davis Polk and Wardwell LLP.
Between the period Amaize fled Nigeria and the time of filing this report, the clampdown on freedom of expression in Nigeria has escalated. Journalists and activists have been arrested, detained and charged for offences like terrorism and treason. Some prominent cases include Omoyele Sowore, publisher of Sahara Reporters and Agba Jalingo who are facing charges of treason and terrorism for their activism and journalistic work respectively.
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