Armed soldiers have invaded Daily Trust head office in Abuja, hours after taking over the Newspaper’s regional office in Maiduguri, Borno state and arrested the regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab.
The soldiers forced the gate open at the head office and drove in with three Jokic vans loaded with armed soldiers.
They also loaded all computers at the head office into some of their vans before taking off.
Dozens of soldiers are currently stationed within and outside the building, preventing entry and exit.
It is not clear yet why they took the action but it may be connected with the lead story of Daily Trust on Sunday on military operation in the North East.
The soldiers had shut the gate of the Maiduguri regional office earlier in the day, after arresting the two editorial workers on sight at the time of the raid.
Also, the Lagos Bureau Office of the Media Trust Ltd (publishers of Daily Trust newspaper titles) has been taken over by a combination of armed military and police officers.
At about 9pm, it was observed that a total of seven security operatives’ vehicles were stationed within and outside the Lagos office premises situated at the Textile Labour House, Acme, Agidingbi, Ikeja.
Of the seven vehicles, two Hilux vans and one Rapid Response Squad (RRS) car were situated right in front of the Bureau office. Four other Hilux vans were situated at the other side of the road, facing TheNews publishing house, a stone throw from Media Trust office.
About 15 soldiers and police officers were seen angling around the premises as at the time of filing this report.
Meanwhile, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) while bemoaning the development called on the international community, democracy advocates and well-meaning Nigerians to save the media, adding that the invasion of the national daily’s premises is an attempt to gag the Fourth Estate in a bid to prevent the dissemination of credible information to Nigerians and the outside world. Boko Haram kills more Nigerian soldiers in ambush.
In a chat with our correspondent late Sunday night, Diran Odeyemi, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the PDP enjoined President Buhari not to forget that press freedom is an essential component of constitutional democracy. According to him, “President Buhari is gradually taking us back to the era of military dictatorship and what happened to Daily Trust Newspaper is a pointer that he is bent on taking us backward. This is very unfortunate. “Apart from harassing opposition figures, they have shifted focus to the media but we must resist this because the media as the watchdog of the society must be allowed to play its constitutional role. “We call on the international community, civil society organizations as well as well-meaning Nigerians to rise up and say no to the culture of intolerance now pervading our land.”