Armed soldiers invaded Daily Trust head office in the Federal Capital Territory, 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.
They demanded to see some senior staff, among whom was the Political Editor, Hamza Idris.
At the Abuja headquarters of the newspaper, they reportedly forced the gate open and drove in with three Jokic vans loaded with armed soldiers.
Everyone in the building was asked to move to the ground floor while they moved the newspaper’s computers.
Last night, security operatives sealed up the premises of Media Trust Limited, publisher of Daily Trust newspaper; over Boko Haram stories.
The operatives, led by a Second Lieutenant in the Nigerian Army, arrived the Utako, Abuja premises at 6:00pm, with scores of soldiers and plain-cloth personnel. They immediately demanded to see some staff. The soldiers wore masks and cordoned off the Mafeni Crescent, off Solomon Lar Street of the newspaper.
Staff of the organisation, who gathered in group outside the office, told Daily Sun that the operatives,
on arrival, asked them to converge at the front yard of the office. After that, the soldiers, reportedly disconnected computers in the office, assembled and loaded them into their vehicles and drove away.
A statement by the Deputy Managing Director of the organisation, Mahmud Jega, said the soldiers still laid siege to the newspaper’s office, as at yesterday night.
Jega said: “Armed soldiers in several vehicles have laid siege to Daily Trust headquarters in Abuja. They have surrounded the premises, dismissed the Mobile Police guards and do not allow entry or exit. “
“Soldiers had earlier today (yesterday) entered Daily Trust’s office in Maiduguri and arrested two reporters, including the Bureau Chief, Usman Abubakar. They say it is regarding today’s lead story of Daily Trust on Sunday. Production has stopped.”
As at 8.30 pm soldiers were still manning the entrance and premises of the newspaper at Utako. Several staff of the organisation gathered in groups, on the street, and discussed the development. Meanwhile, the Lagos Bureau Office of the newspaper, was also, yesterday night, taken over by a combination of armed military and police officers.
The security operatives had earlier in the day besieged and shut down the Borno regional office of the news publication before arresting the regional editor and a reporter.
At about 9:00pm, seven security operatives’ vehicles were stationed within and outside the Lagos office premises situated at the Textile Labour House on Acme Road, 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.
But, Defence Spokesman, Brigadier-General John Agim, described the newspaper’s Sunday publication as unpatriotic and capable of undermining the war against Boko Haram.
He told Daily Sun that the newspaper published highly classified details about a Boko Haram operation; which could ultimately hinder the war against insurgency.
In a development yesterday night, the Federal Government ordered the military to vacate Daily Trust’s offices.