From Conflict Reporting to PR — Borno Female Journalist Chooses Between Life and Death

Amina Fida Ahmadu could have joined the long list of journalists who died during the course of their duties but she had to choose between life and death when threats and deaths were the only rewards for reporting insurgency in Borno State.

To keep living, Amina transitioned to public relations, bidding farewell to journalism, a career she had tirelessly nurtured over the past 17 years. She was a principal reporter at Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in Maiduguri and was also a one-time reporter at Borno TV. 

Amina, also the current chairperson of the Nigerian Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), Borno Chapter, shared her traumatising experience with Her Press Diary, recalling how heartwrenching scenes shaped her career during the Boko Haram Insurgency that ravaged Borno and other northern states. 

“During the 2011 elections, I was a staff at the NTA and I was called to cover a story after casualties of a bomb blast attack were brought to Maiduguri Teaching Hospital,” she said. 

However, after witnessing the gruesome state of the casualties, Amina broke down and cried for the rest of the day. She could not even report the story. 

“You can imagine seeing human being fingers littered for the first time. I could not report. A colleague of mine reported the story instead. I could not even voice it,” she added. 

But as time went on, Amina braced up for the heartwrenching scenes and even covered the Maiduguri Police station bomb blast at that time, even though she was a few months pregnant. 

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She also extolled her colleague and photographer, who lost his life to the insurgency.

“The then cameraman, of blessed memory, tried to prevent me from the gory sights. But I told him not to worry,” she recalled. “Late Zakariyya Isa was reportedly killed a few days after resuming back to work from his annual leave. They followed him home and killed him.”

Speaking of the journalists’ threat to safety at the time, she said: “We became like targets, you have to be mindful of what you report because they (insurgents) will come after you. Even if you report about the military, it’s the same thing. But better be an enemy of the military than that of Boko Haram.”

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Amina had to find her way to work despite assuring her mother that she wouldn’t be reporting about the insurgency anymore. 

However, when it got worse, she had to heed her husband’s request to leave the practice for Public Relations for her safety and her family’s.

“He didn’t want to lose the mother of his kids,” she said of her husband. “I miss the practice but my home comes first.”


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