The Defense Headquarters Nigeria has finally commented on multiple acts of newspapers’ confiscations, oppression of newspaper staff and blocking of newspapers’ selling and distribution points in various parts of the country.
The statement by DHQ Director of Defense information, Maj.Gen. Chris Olukolade, issued a statement in the afternoon of June 6, 2014, Friday, explaining that the military and the SSS were just “looking for arms”.
He confirmed that a thorough search one some of vehicles transporting newspapers and newsprints have been accomplished in the morning. The operatives and soldiers acted in accordance with an intelligence report, indicating that vehicles of renowned newspapers may be used as a disguise for transferring illegal items under cover of newsprint related consignments.
The DHQ further informed that the actions had nothing to do with content or operation of the affected media organizations. Olukolade also assured that no personnel of these structures were targeted, as the military respects the role of the media, and considers it as a vital partner in the continuing war against terrorism.
The military also emphasized that it would never infringe on the freedom of the press and reassured that the exercise was a routine security action and should not be misconstrued for any other motive.
It would be recalled that Major Nigerian newspapers were seized and destroyed in the morning of June 6, in a manner reminding of military-ruled country.
Newspaper distribution vans were stopped and searched in a number of states. Such newspapers as Vanguard, The Nation, Leadership, The Punch and Daily Trust were affected.
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