The United States has granted asylum to a popular Nigerian journalist, Ohimai Amaize, a former African Independent Television (AIT) presenter who fled Nigeria last year.
Ekohotblog reports that the journalist confirmed the development to PREMIUM TIMES in an e-mail Sunday.
The mail sent by the popular Nigerian journalist reads as thus; “I have just received notice of my asylum approval,” he said.
This onine news platform recalls that the 35-year-old Amaize departed Abuja, Nigeria’s Capital in June 2019 following claims he was being trailed by Nigerian security agents with intention to arrest and charge him for treason and incitement.
It was learned that the alleged plots stemmed from a confrontation between the government and AIT and its flagship morning show, ‘Kakaaki Social’, a user-generated programme which Amaize was anchoring at the time.
The Nigerian broadcast stations regulator (NBC), shut down the station for about 24 hours, alleging multiple infractions on federal guidelines for broadcasters. Although the station was reopened following a court order, its headquarters in Abuja was besieged by armed officers from the State Security Service, SSS.
Amaize criticized the guidelines as arbitrary and repressive and subsequently fled to New York on June 11, citing threats to his safety by the SSS, police and other state agents and supporters. His wife, an Abuja-based fashion designer, also left Nigeria a few weeks later to join him.
Speaking on his asylum in the US, Amaize said: “My forced exit from Nigeria last year has been a very traumatising experience for me and my family,” Amaize told PREMIUM TIMES. “I am very happy and I thank God for this development.”
Meanwhile,Ekohotblog reports that the American government 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.