The shooting of longtime publisher Victor Nwankwo in Nigeria last month has drawn international outrage from both the International Publishers Association and the Association of American Publishers.
Pere Vicens, president of the IPA in Geneva, wrote an open letter to Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, urging him to find and bring the murderers to justice. Nwankwo was killed in front of his home in Enugu, Nigeria, on August 29, as he was setting out for Harare, Zimbabwe, to receive an award for his lifetime achievements in publishing.
Pat Schroeder, president of the AAP, followed up with a letter to President Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying that Nwankwo "was killed to silence the voice of a distinguished author and publisher."
Calling him "a frontline mover in the publishing industry worldwide," Vicens noted that Nwankwo was for 25 years managing director of Fourth Dimension Publishing Company, one of Nigeria's major private and indigenously owned trade houses. He was also past president of the Nigerian Publishers Association, a founding chairman of the African Publishers Network (APNET) and the first African member of the IPA executive committee.
Vicens called Nwankwo's death "an assassination." At the very least, he added, it is "a violation of freedom of expression and the fundamental rights of the individual in a democratic society." No robbery occurred with the shooting, and the police have apparently made no effort to gather evidence towards an arrest.