By Daniel Njienue, January 7, 2019,news
LAGOS-With the locked-down of the Daily Trust Newspapers in Maiduguri, Borno State and Abuja yesterday, over unconfirmed report, that ,”what Daily Trust published became a threat to-lives of Nigerian soldiers who are fighting gorilla war on terrorism in the North-east.
Meanwhile, the President, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Mr. Chris Isiguzo, who spoke with TVC news last night said, that it is unacceptable for the military to continue to put a threat to the freedom of journalists in the country. He wondered why such would continue to happen in a democratic dispensation, but cautioned journalists to be sensitive in their news reporting. The president noted further : “ We have always stress the need for journalists to be prudent in their lawful duty, however, we understand the situation in the North east, is more like an emergency situation and we are not to put the lives of our soldiers under threat or danger by information in the newspapers that may give the terrorists idea of military strategies in the fight against terrorism, and that was what I said before, that journalists should be very careful in the type of materials to publish, if it is going to cause trouble, and create confusion, then, it is better kept.
Continuing, Mr. Isiguzo, reiterated: “we should be careful in this emergency period. it is not about Daily Trus newspapers, no, is about us, and for what I gathered, the report published by daily trust is said to be, of- not- to the interest- of the -military, but clamping down the newspaper is not also the best. Indeed, there are better ways to curb the situation, we can dialogue, discuss and find a better way to resolve things like this. So, it is necessary for us all not to create tension, as it has happened now.
In another development, Brig. Gen. Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director of Army Public Relations, has defended the action of the military invasion of the Newspapers office. In a statement issued today, Monday, explains that it became imperative for the military to act, in the interest of national security. It read: “The Nigerian Army wishes to clarify on alleged invasion of Media Trust Headquarters in Abuja and regional office in Maiduguri. We would like to state that soldiers of the Nigerian Army along with elements of Nigeria Police Force and other Security Agencies were indeed at Abuja and Maiduguri offices of the publishing company to invite the staff of the company over its lead story on Sunday Trust publication, which divulged classified military information, thus undermining national security.
“In it, the newspaper disclosed details of planned military operations against the Boko Haram terrorists. The disclosure of classified security information amounts to a breach of national security and run contrary to Sections 1 and 2 of the Official Secrets Act. It afforded the Boko Haram terrorists prior notice of our plans and giving them early warning to prepare against the Nigerian military, thus sabotaging the planned operations and putting the lives of troops in imminent and clear danger.
“We would like to state that the invitation of those responsible for divulging military plans was done with the best of intention in order to make them realise the import of such acts to our national security. We therefore advise all, particularly journalists, not to worry but engage in their responsive reportage and to be professional as the Nigerian Army has no intention of muzzling the press or jeopardising press freedom.
“We however, wish to enjoin further that they should eschew jeopardizing national security in their reportage. We would not tolerate situation where a publication would consistently side with terrorists and undermine our national institutions.
“We wish to appeal to all, especially the media, to join hands with the Nigerian military and security forces to end terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria. We would like to further assure that the invitation is for further investigation and if need be, all those culpable of jeopardising operations security will be prosecuted by the relevant law enforcement agency.”
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