The International Press Centre (IPC) has condemned the military invasion of Daily Trust offices in Lagos, Abuja and Maiduguri, describing it as a threat to democracy.
On Sunday, armed soldiers stormed the newspaper’s office in Maiduguri and arrested Uthman Abubakar, the regional editor, and Ibrahim Sawab, a reporter.
Hours after shutting down the Maiduguri office, soldiers also invaded the newspaper’s head office in Abuja and its Lagos bureau office.
Lanre Arogundade, IPC director, described the development as a “fresh threat to freedom of the press”.
He said in a statement: “The International Press Centre (IPC), Lagos-Nigeria, condemns 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.
“A senior editorial staff of the organisation confirmed the military onslaught on the media establishment stating that staff had been ordered out of the premises, laptops and computers seized and operations halted. No reason, he said, was given for the action.
“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.
“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.”
The soldiers had requested to see Hamza Idris, Daily Trust’s political editor who co-authored Sunday’s frontpage report about the military’s operation in the north-east.