The Atiku-Agbaje Media Engagement Network (AAMEN) has called for the immediate vacation of the premises of Daily Trust.
Should the military remain recalcitrant and refuse to vacate the newspaper’s premises, AAMEN called on the media to immediately embark on a blackout of government activities.
“Until the reopening of Daily Trust, the vacating of its premises and release of the abducted journalists, we shall urge the print and electronic media to immediately embark on the boycotting of government and APC activities,” AAMEN said.
According to a statement by AAMEN Executive Secretary, Mr. Felix Oboagwina, the military’s action showed a violent descent into anarchy, impunity and human rights abuse.
AAMEN said the assault on the medium amounted to traducing Press Freedom and the Freedom of Information Act.
Describing the occupation of the newspaper’s Abuja and Maiduguri as a recourse to anarchy and dictatorship, AAMEN demanded that the government should tender an unreserved apology to Daily Trust in particular and to Nigerians in general.
“This injudicious resort to self-help and intimidation is condemnable, highhanded and undemocratic. There are clear and extant provisions in the country’s law books for whoever is aggrieved to seek redress. That the Army took the laws into its own hands is wrong and whoever gave the directive to clamp down on Daily Trust deserves to be reviewed and sanctioned,” Oboagwina said.
“President Muhammadu Buhari and his goons are taking us back to 1983 and Decree 4. This shows how wrong those who say he is a born-again dictator have been,” Oboagwina said. “We are witnessing Nigeria’s slide into anarchy and tyranny with this high-handed clamp down on the newspaper.”
AAMEN described as weak and puerile the Army’s statement on Monday that the invasion was because the newspaper leaked secret documents on security operations.
“Nothing can justify the Army’s deployment of troops to a civil organisation,” the group said. “Clearly, the Army high command is dissipating energy on a matter for the police and the courts when its firepower is required in the theatre of Boko Haram insurgency.”
According to AAMEN, if indeed Daily Trust had involved in such an offensive publication, it could only have happened because the security agencies under the APC had developed a hostile and unfriendly attitude to the Press, instead of regarding journalists as nation-building partners.
Recalling that the Army had been indicted in the killing of Shiites in Kaduna and Abuja, AAMEN spoke of the need to adjust the temperature of soldiers to the country’s democracy.