Fight Boko Haram, not press, Murray-Bruce tells Nigeria Army
Nigerian lawmaker, Senator Ben Murray-Bruce, on Monday told Nigeria Army to stop invading media houses in the country, instead, it should concentrate on fighting Boko Haram insurgency group and other terrorists.
Personnel of the army had on Saturday, January 5 invaded Daily Trust offices in Maiduguri, Abuja and Lagos.
The troops arrested the regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab and shut the gate of the office.
A source at the Daily Trust said the arrest of the journalist may be connected to the newspaper lead story on Sunday.
Daily Trust reported that the Nigerian military had assembled thousands of troops and equipment in preparation for a massive operation to retake Baga and five other towns in the northern part of Borno State from Boko Haram.
But, Murray-Bruce, who represents Bayelsa East constituency in the Nigerian Senate said it was out of responsibility for the army to invade the media house.
He then urged Nigeria’s president Muhammadu Buhari and the army to direct its weapons to fight the country’s enemies and not the press, who are ‘friends’ of the people.
“How come we have so many heavily armed soldiers invading Daily Trust in Abuja, yet soldiers in the frontlines of the war on terror are complaining of lack of reinforcements and weapons?” Murray-Bruce tweeted.
“President Buhari, fight Boko Haram, they are our enemies. Leave the press. They are friends”
However, the army said the reasons for the invasion of Daily Trust was because its report was a breach of national security in the fight against Boko Haram insurgency group.
“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,” spokesman of Nigeria Army Sani Usman said in a statement.
The media outfit disclosed that the country’s armed forces, the army, navy and the air force, would be involved in the major offensive to recover areas the insurgents have captured.
Usman explained that the information published by Daily Trust “afforded the Boko Haram terrorists prior notice of our plans and giving them an early warning to prepare against the Nigerian military, thus sabotaging the planned operations and putting the lives of troops in imminent and clear danger.”
Usman noted that the army “would not tolerate a situation where a publication would consistently side with terrorists and undermine our National institutions.”
While urging other journalists and media houses to discharge their duties without fear, Usman said the treatment meted out to Daily Trust was in no way to deprive the country of press freedom.
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