The Nigerian Army has explained that it invaded the offices of media company, Daily Trust, for sabotaging its war against terrorist group, Boko Haram, through its Sunday publication.
Yesterday, January 6, 2019, armed soldiers invaded the Daily Trust Newspaper regional office in Borno and the head office in Abuja.
In Abuja, the soldiers forced the gate open and drove in with three Jokic vans loaded with armed soldiers. Everyone in the building was asked to move to the ground floor while the soldiers moved computers.
The presidency later released a statement to say that President Muhammadu Buhari had directed the military to vacate the premises of Daily Trust offices and the order has been complied with. (Read the report HERE).
The Army, in a statement signed by its Director of Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, on Monday, January 7, said that the raids were as a result of a recent story published by Daily Times where the organization allegedly disclosed classified military information to the public.
According to the Army, the disclosure of the details of planned military operations against Boko Haram was a breach of national security and endangered the lives of troops in the northeast. Usman said:
“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 made 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.”
The Army further cautioned Nigerians, especially journalists, to be responsible and professional with their reportage, promising that the military 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.”