By Ismaila Chafe
The Federal Government on Sunday night directed the military authorities to vacate all premises of the Daily Trust Newspapers in Abuja, Maiduguri and Lagos.
The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Malam Garba Shehu, confirmed this development on his tweeter handle in Abuja.
He said: “The Federal Government has directed the military to vacate the premises of daily trust and the order has been complied with.
“Issues between the military and the newspaper as they affect the coverage of the war in the Northeast will be resolved through dialogue,’’
Security agents were reported to have taken over the headquarters of the daily trust newspapers in Abuja as well as its bureau offices in Maiduguri and Lagos following the report carried by the Sunday’s edition of the newspaper bordering on the ongoing war against insurgency in the Northeast parts of the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Maiduguri Bureau Chief of the newspaper and a reporter in the state were also reported to have been arrested by the security operatives on Sunday.
Military sources told NAN that the report with the headline; “Commander removed as Army moves to retake Baga’’, revealed too much and endangered the planned operation.
But in a statement, Manir Dan-Ali, the Editor-in-Chief of the newspaper, claimed: “We have not been told of the reason for the military operation against this newspaper but suspect it may have to do with the lead story of the Daily Trust on Sunday that dwelt on the military’s effort to retake some towns recently reported to have been lost to insurgents.
“Another clue is that during the invasion of our premises both in Maiduguri and in Abuja, the military men were asking for the reporters who wrote the story.
“Media Trust Limited condemns this unlawful act and calls on the military authorities to release the two reporters arrested in Maiduguri and return the dozens of computers that were taken from our newsroom.
“We also like to thank our colleagues in the media and all others who have been calling and supporting us in our hour of need.
“We also appreciate the efforts of some government officials who insist that there is a better way of handling relations with the media”.