The FCT Council of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) has condemned the recent invasion of Daily Trust Newspapers by the military.
The Council chairman, Mr Emmanuel Ogbeche, said this on Tuesday in Abuja when he visited the Daily Trust head office in Abuja with members of his executive council to show solidarity.
Ogbeche said though the ethics of the journalism profession demands balance reportage, but the invasion of the office was not justifiable by the military.
He said with the general elections fast approaching, if media organisations become targets of military invasion, it means non-state actors can leverage on the fear created, thereby making journalists easy preys.
“It is a troubling development, but we encourage Daily Trust and the media in general not to be deterred in the face of these happenings,’’ according to him.
Responding, the News Editor of Daily Trust, Mr Isiaka Wakili, said the military was still keeping the company’s computers and lap tops they carted away.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that armed military and paramilitary personnel invaded the regional offices of the newspaper in Maiduguri and Lagos as well as the headquarters building in Abuja on Sunday (Jan. 6).
They arrested some editors and reporters, and took away some work tools.
But the security agencies later vacated the occupied premises and released the detained journalists on the orders of President Muhammadu Buhari.
NHRC condemns invasion
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has called on the Nigerian Army to strike a balance between security and human rights in its operations.
The Executive Secretary of the commission, Mr Tony Ojukwu, made the appeal on Tuesday in Abuja.
A statement signed by Mr Lambert Opara, the commission’s Director, Corporate Affairs and External Linkage, said Ojukwu was reacting to the invasion of Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily and Sunday Trust by the army.
Ojukwu said that although terrorism must never be allowed to continue to destroy the country, the military must at all times respect international best practices when addressing security challenges bedeviling the country.
This, according to him, will go a long way to ensure the protection of the human rights of every citizen.
He commended the Federal Government’s quick intervention in asking the invading soldiers to retrace their steps.
The commission, however, demanded the immediate release of the North East regional editor of the newspaper who was still being held by the army.
“We believe that if the editor has any case to answer, he should be taken to the appropriate court of law.”
The human rights boss added that the role of the media could not be undermined in any democracy as the media remained the gate keepers of the society.
He also advised journalists to observe caution as they exercised their right to freedom of expression, adding that freedom of expression was not absolute at all times.