The Nigeria Army has justified its invasion of the the Abuja and the Maiduguri regional office of Media Trust, Publishers of Daily Trust Newspaper, saying that the military was offended by the paper use of military classified information in its Sunday publication.
In a statement by Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman, Director Army Public Relations however said that the military has no intention of muzzling the press in the discharge of its legitimate duties.
The statement which reads in part said “The Nigerian Army wishes to clarify on alleged invasion of Media Trust Headquarters in Abuja and regional office in Maiduguri.
” 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 made 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.
According to him the action of the Newspaper afforded the Boko Haram terrorists prior notice of the 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 operations security will be prosecuted by the relevant law enforcement agency.
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