Armed soldiers on Sunday launched a brazen attack on Nigeria’s democracy by invading the Daily Trust headquarters in Utako-Abuja, taking away computers, laptops and other properties from the newsroom.
More than two dozens armed soldiers, who arrived in five pickup trucks, took part in the invasion and sealing of the newspaper’s main office, witnesses said.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY was informed that before the raid on the newspaper’s office in Abuja, soldiers had also stormed its regional office in Maiduguri, Borno State, arresting the regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab.
According to Daily Trust, the soldiers shut the Maiduguri regional office, after arresting the two editorial staff on sight when they raided the place.
As at the time of filing this report, the reason for the unlawful invasion has not been disclosed, but the action is said to be in connection with the lead story of Daily Trust on Sunday regarding military operations in the North East.
The paper had reported the military plans to reclaim Baga and other communities taken by Boko Haram some weeks ago. This reportedly did not go down well with the military authorities.
They had insisted that no territory was being occupied by the insurgents.
It is understood that the invading soldiers had requested to see Daily Trust’s Political Editor, Hamza Idris, whose byline appeared on the story.
The Nigerian Army Public Relations, Brig Gen Sani Usman is yet to comment on this assault on Nigerian democracy.
Phone calls and text messages to his mobile phone have remained unanswered.
But recall that Usman had recently threatened that there would be consequences on reports which the military (subjectively) considered to be negative about its activities.
In his view, such reports are not good for the morale of troops fighting Boko Haram.
Unclear however, is who ordered the invasion of Daily Trust offices and the law that authorized such attack on freedom of the press.
However, there has been a heavy militarization of the Nigerian democracy under President Muhammadu Buhari despite opposition by Nigerians.
This apart, the government of the former army general has shown disdain for the rule of law by holding people in prison indefinitely without trial, despite court orders for their release.
Such impunity and disrepect for the rule of law sends wrong signals, especially to law enforcement officers.