Ohimai Amaize, a former AIT presenter who fled Nigeria last year, has been granted asylum in the United States.
Mr Amaize, 35, departed Abuja in June 2019 following claims he was being trailed by Nigerian security agents with intention to arrest and charge him for treason and incitement. The alleged plots stemmed from a confrontation between the government and AIT and its flagship morning show, ‘Kakaaki Social’, a user-generated programme which Mr. 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.
Mr. 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.