By Modupe Gbadeyanka
The Nigerian Army on Sunday night explained why its men raided the Abuja and Maiduguri offices of Daily Trust, a national newspaper company in the country on Sunday afternoon.
Spokesman of the Army, Brigadier General Sani Usman, explained in a statement that it invaded the newspaper’s offices because paper disclosed military strategies in its article published on Sunday titled ‘Military prepares massive operation to retake Baga, others.’
The Army said it was wrong for Daily Trust to publish such a story on its platform because it jeopardises national security.
“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 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.
“We therefore advice all, particularly journalists, not to worry but engage in their responsive reportage and to be professional as the Nigerian Army 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 security operations will be prosecuted by the relevant law enforcement agency,” the Army said in the statement.
Meanwhile, Business Post gathered that soldiers deployed to the premises of the newspaper’s offices have been withdrawn on the directives of federal government.
“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,” Mr Garba Shehu, one of the media aides to President Muhammadu Buhari, said on Sunday.
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