By Taiwo Adebowale
The Presidential Candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and former Nigerian Vice President Atiku Abubakar, said they are alarmed at the military invasion of the offices of Media Trust Limited, Publishers of Daily Trust newspapers. We are further outraged by the arrest of their regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab.
In a statement signed and delivered to the Atlantic Post in Abuja on Monday, January 7, by his Media Adviser, Mazi Paul Ibe, Atiku said, “we totally condemn these actions and call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call off his forces to order and end their attack on the media and the freedom of the press”.
“This is a travesty, the likes of which we have not seen since the heinous days of military rule. Atiku Abubakar and other pro-democrats did not risk their lives fighting for democracy for this to happen.
“This is unacceptable. The media is not only a partner in progress to the government, but they are also a quasi-arm of government being, as Edmund Burke propounded, the Fourth Estate of the Realm.
“The particular use of heavily armed soldiers also shows the abuse of scarce resources which has exacerbated the insecurity currently plaguing Nigeria.
“Our soldiers should not be used to target law-abiding citizens. A dutiful and prudent commander-in-chief should rather deploy them to either the Northeast or the Zamfara-Katsina axis, especially after the Governors of both states held New Year’s Day conferences bemoaning the breakdown of law and order in their respective states.
“Again, we urge President Muhammadu Buhari to use his powers as C-in-C to protect the people, rather than to oppress Nigerians. If the government has issues with Media Trust Limited, it should bring charges against them at a court of competent jurisdiction or the Nigeria Press Council, the statutory body that governs ethical standards in the Nigerian press.
“Nigeria had a free press before this administration and we assure the President and all Nigerians that a free press will outlast this government”, Atiku concluded.