Antswen Emmanuel Bem is a graduate of English from the University of Abuja, Nigeria. He reports for the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN from Benue state. He hails from Gwer East Local Government Area of Benue Sate in North Central Nigeria.
While growing up, Antswen had a passion for writing and wanted to be a Poet. “I never dreamt of being a journalist until when I was in 300 levels in the university, I saw a journalist helped a prostitute who was constantly harassed by an army officer; then I started having the flair for the profession”.
Antswen began his career in journalism in 2012 as an editorial staff with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). In his 6 years as a journalist, he said he has experienced the good and bad of journalism as a result of his reports.
According to him, “I live in fear and extremely careful every day of my life. As Lots of journalists over the years have been assassinated, harassed and a host others seriously beaten.
“In April 2013 for instance, I authored a report and the following day security personnel made series of efforts to arrest me and even went to the extent of arresting the Coordinator, Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC) Rev Fr Felix Apine who I interviewed.
“Top Government officials keep confronting me over my reports. They have never hidden their frustration and displeasure over my reports to the extent that my car was vandalized in May 2017 and some vital information was removed”.
His most challenging experience was an arrest by the Nigerian Police over a report he wrote on September 12 2017 on the IDPs protest, wherein, they protested attempts by officials to divert relief materials.
The report exposed the rot in one of the camps of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) at the International Market in Makurdi, the state capital. “The IDPs were forced out of their homes by flood only for the officials to short change them. The flood itself exposes the poor ecological/ drainage system of Makurdi, the state capital.
“On 22nd September 2017 I was arrested and detained for 14hrs and with the intervention of my employers and officials of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ) I was released the following day”.
In spite of the challenges, Antswem is determined to succeed in journalism. His words: “I have experienced the good, the bad and the worst aspects of the profession so far. There are times that I feel like throwing in the towel but above all, even in my second birth, I would still love to be a journalist. I enjoy the work because it is very interesting; I get to meet people of different class, status and go to places.
It has exposed me to various challenges of life and I have a burning desire to excel in my profession irrespective of the demanding nature of the job”.
He believes: “the world has so many touching stories that can change lives. These stories need to be told with accuracy and fairness. My sole duty as a journalist is to educate the masses with information that will make them question how and why things are the way they are in our society. Only Journalists are responsible for bringing these issues to the forefront and challenging the public to face and change the society.
I am a journalist because I believe there are people out there who have stories that the world needs to hear. Without journalists, the world would be far more ignorant than it is today”.
To fellow journalists, he says: “be determined, focused, and hardworking and above be very careful as the work is very tasking. Shun any form of emotions in your reportage; journalism provides voice for the voiceless, relief for the oppressed and it is an avenue for truth to be told”.
Antswen covers environment, politics, NGOs, judiciary, among others. He has attended a number of trainings amongst which is NAN training on Data journalism, United Nations Refugee Agency workshop on “strengthening Border Security Through Early Warning” and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)/ United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) training for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) human rights monitor workshop.
He enjoys Football, making friends, writing and researching.
To read his Favourite report click here: