Mbaise, Imo State
bachelor’s degree in journalism; master’s degree in Mass Communication
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – Federal Legislator (Senate)
All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA)
The Committee to Protect Journalists named Anyanwu winner of the CPJ International Press Freedom Award, and in May 1998 she was awarded UNESCO’s Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize. Because of her imprisonment, Nobel Literature Prize laureate Wole Soyinka attended the ceremony to accept the latter on her behalf.
Author of The days of terror
In May 1995 Anyanwu was arrested following the publication of a story about a failed coup d’état against the government of Sani Abacha, whom she had refused to endorse as president; she and several Nigerian journalists were accused of being “accessory after the fact of treason”.
Anyanwu was prosecuted in camera by a military court and sentenced to life imprisonment on 4 July 1995, later reduced to 15 years in October 1995 following pressure from national and international human rights groups. While being held in Gombe prison, she went partially blind; doctors warned that she was in danger of losing her sight completely if she failed to receive medical attention.
In June 1998, following the death of President Abacha and several protests from human rights groups worldwide, Anyanwu was released by Abacha’s successor General Abdulsalam Abubakar on health grounds. She embarked on a two-year break in Virginia, during which she wrote the book Days of Terror about Nigeria’s struggle during the dictatorship. Returning to Nigeria after her book’s release, she testified to her experiences in prison and confronted her former jailers, publicly forgiving one after he apologized to her.
A televised version of her now-defunct publication TSM Show was aired in 2001. In 2005, Anyanwu opened her radio station Hot 98.3 FM, based in Abuja.
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