The Nigerian Army on Monday explained that it invaded the offices of the national newspaper, Daily Trust, on Sunday because it sabotaged its planned operation against the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
This was made known by the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Sani Usman, in a statement he issued.
“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,’’ he said.
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Usman explained that the invasion was only to invite the reporters involved in the sabotage for questioning.
He said the Nigerian Army did not have any intention to gag the Nigerian press, just as he warned that they should not do anything that could negatively affect national security.
“We, however, wish to enjoin further that they should eschew jeopardising national security in their reportage.
“We would not tolerate situation where a publication would consistently side with terrorists and undermine our national institutions,’’ he said.
Soldiers invaded the Abuja and Maiduguri, Borno State offices of the newspaper on Sunday and arrested two officials – Uthman Abubakar (regional editor) and Ibrahim Sawab (reporter).
However, the Federal Government had directed that the soldiers should vacate the premises of the newspaper.
In a tweet on Sunday, one of the media aides of President Muhammadu Buhari, Malam Garba Shehu, stated that the government had issued an order for the military to leave the premises.
According to him, the crisis between the military and newspaper would be resolved through dialogue.
The tweet reads: “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.”