UPDATE: Buhari directs military to vacate Daily Trust’s offices

President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari

“The action of the military is also a threat to democracy with the presidential elections, less than two months away. The military is bound by the laws of the land and cannot in any circumstance be allowed to resort to extra judicial measures.”

Garba Shehu, a spokesperson for Mr Buhari, on Sunday night announced the president’s directive.

“The Federal Government has directed the military to vacate the premises of @daily_trust and the order has been complied with,” he said via a tweet on his handle @GarShehu.

“Issues between the military and the newspaper as they affect the coverage of the war in the Northeast will be resolved through dialogue.”

About two dozen armed soldiers in five Hilux vehicles Sunday invaded the headoffice of the newspaper at the Utako district of Abuja.

They asked all the staff to leave after which they sealed the premises.

The Army had earlier raided the Maiduguri regional office of the newspaper in a similar fashion and arrested the regional editor, Uthman Abubakar, and one of the paper’s reporters, Ibrahim Sawab.

Daily Trust in a tweet said its regional office in Lagos was also been taken over by security agents while one of the editors at the newspaper also told PREMIUM TIMES that the medium’s Kaduna office was also shut.

The raids on Daily Trust happened hours after the newspaper published a report detailing how the Nigerian military assembled troops and equipment in preparation for a massive operation to retake Baga and five other towns in Borno from Boko Haram.

Baga was seized in the last two weeks by members of the Islamic State in West African Province (ISWAP), the faction of Boko Haram affiliated to ISIS.

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Meanwhile, the International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria, has condemned “in strong terms, the forceful closure of Daily Trust Newspapers’ head office in Abuja and the organisation’s Maiduguri office by military personnel on Sunday January 6, 2019.

“IPC considers this development as a fresh threat to freedom of the press as well as the freedom and individual liberties of journalists and other media professionals working in Daily Trust, IPC said in a statement by its director, Lanre Arogundade.

“The action of the military is also a threat to democracy with the presidential elections, less than two months away. The military is bound by the laws of the land and cannot in any circumstance be allowed to resort to extra judicial measures no matter its grievances.”

Via:: PREMIUM TIMES

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