US grants former AIT presenter, Ohimai Amaize, asylum

Ohimai Amaize

The United States has granted asylum to former Africa Independent Television (AIT) presenter, Ohimai Amaize, who fled Nigeria in 2019.

Mr Amaize confirmed this on Sunday in an email sent to journalists.

The broadcaster left Nigeria in June 2019 following a clash between the Federal Government and the AIT over its morning show, ‘Kakaaki Social’.

The government through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) shut down AIT for about 24 hours over allegations of lack of balance in reports among others.

The station was re-opened following a court order.

Citing threats to his life by security agents, Amaize, the show’s host at the time and a vocal critic of President Muhammadu Buhari, left the country for New York. He was joined by his wife weeks later.

“My forced exit from Nigeria last year has been a very traumatising experience for me and my family. I am very happy and I thank God for this development,” he said in the email.

“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 because there is no place like home.”

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.

“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,” he said.