By Lateef Ibrahim Abuja and Oluseyi Dasilva Ilorin
Former Vice President and presidential candidate of the Peolpes Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar has condemned the invasion of the offices of Media Trust Limited, Publishers of Daily Trust newspapers.
Atiku in a statement issued yesterday and signed by Paul Ibe, Media Adviser to HE Atiku Abubakar, “We are alarmed at the military invasion of the offices of Media Trust Limited, Publishers of Daily Trust newspapers. We are further outraged by the arrest of their regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab.
“We totally condemn these actions and call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call off his forces to order and end their attack on the media and the freedom of the press.”
Atiku noted that, “This is a travesty, the likes of which we have not seen since the heinous days of military rule. Atiku Abubakar and other pro-democrats did not risk their lives fighting for democracy for this to happen.”
The former vice president said, “This is unacceptable. The media is not only a partner in progress to the government, but they are also a quasi-arm of government being, as Edmund Burke propounded, the Fourth Estate of the Realm. “
He added that, “The particular use of heavily armed soldiers also shows the abuse of scarce resources which has exacerbated the insecurity currently plaguing Nigeria. “
Atiku adviced that, “Our soldiers should not be used to target law-abiding citizens. A dutiful and prudent commander-in-chief should rather deploy them to either the Northeast or the Zamfara-Katsina axis, especially after the Governors of both states held New Year’s Day conferences bemoaning the breakdown of law and order in their respective states.”
He urged President Muhammadu Buhari to use his powers as C-in-C to protect the people, rather than to oppress Nigerians.
Also yesterday, the governorship aspirant of labour party, Comrade Issa Obalowu Aremu
has described as undemocratic all acts by security operatives who clamped down on the office of Daily Trust Newspapers in Lagos, Abuja and Maiduguri.
Aremu said that the manner in which Daily Trust was indirectly advertising the recruitment by ISIS is an affront on the nation’s security forces and undermining their effort and appears as if a mockery of the national efforts towards ending the menace of Boko Haram.
He asked: “What are the unemployed and desperate youths expected to do when they hear about a means of livelihood by getting employment with ISIS”
“The media should report responsibly bearing in mind the effect of their reports on national security urging the media to always cross check their facts before publishing.”
The former National Vice President of Labour Congress, stated that though the media should recognize their limits in disclosing security matters so that it doesn’t appear as patronizing or promoting enemies of government, yet the clamp down ought to follow due process of law which is acceptable in a democracy.