Military invades Daily Trust, arrests journalists, Impound computers
For 4 Hours on Sunday, January 6th 2019, Armed Soldiers who came in 5 vehicles occupied the head office of Media Trust Limited, publishers of the Daily Trust titles sending away journalists and other staff. Before the siege was called off at about 9.30 pm, the soldiers has ransacked the newsroom and carted away dozens of computers and effectively strangulated the production of the Monday edition of the paper.
Earlier in the day at about 4 pm, another detachment of soldiers and plain cloth security officials went to the Maiduguri regional office of the company and conducted a search at the end of which they took away the Regional Bureau Chief, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab. Neither the company nor the families of the 2 reporters have heard from them since. A production staff who was taken away from the Abuja head office alongside our computers was released after a period of detention at the Mogadishu barrack in Abuja.
In Lagos, military men in 7 vehicles arrived our offices at Textile Labour House in Agidingbi at about 9 pm and remain there until the time of issuing this statement.
We have not been told of the reason for the military operation against this newspaper but suspect it may have to do with the lead story of the Daily Trust on Sunday that dwelt on the military’s effort to retake some towns recently reported to have been lost to insurgents. Another clue is that during the invasion of our premises both in Maiduguri and in Abuja, the military men were asking for the reporters who wrote the story.
Media Trust Limited condemns this unlawful act and calls on the military authorities to release the 2 reporters arrested in Maiduguri and return the dozens of computers that were taken from our newsroom. We also like to thank our colleagues in the media and all others who have been calling and supporting us in our hour of need. We also appreciate the efforts of some government officials who insist that there is a better way of handling relations with the media.
Media Trust Limited