The youth, under the aegis of “Citizens In Defence of Integrity of Nigerian Military” numbering about 30 arrived the company’s head office at about 12 noon bearing placards and chanting “Never again!” at the gate which lasted for 30 minutes.Some of the placards and banners read: “Daily Trust Newspaper Stop Your Hostility Towards Nigeria Military,” and “Stop Bad Press Against Our Gallant Military,” among others.Defense spokesman Maj-Gen Chris Olukolade had on Wednesday accused segment of the media of downplaying the successes of the military against the insurgents.The military authorities had on 6th June, 2014, embarked on clampdown of newspapers including Daily Trust, disrupting and seizing thousands of their copies across the country, citing security reasons. One of the leaders of the protesters, Yunusa Yusuf in a written speech said: “We have noted with disgust and total indignation, the continued hostility and anti-Nigerian military reports and commentary of your newspaper.”He added that: “we are appalled to note that your newspaper has consistently reported the activities of our military in a manner that neither represent the truth nor promote the course of our national security.”Yusuf said the lead story of Daily Trust on Wednesday March 4, 2015 titled: “Nigeria stalls onslaught against Boko Haram-Chad,” was done in bad taste. He however could not give specific reasons why they felt the story was inaccurate.Although, the spokesperson of the protesting youth denied being sponsored by anyone, Daily Trust observed they left in two buses, one of them bearing the name of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) National Youth Vanguard, FCT chapter.The protesters also came along with Defence Correspondents mostly from Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), and the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN). A reporter with Blue Print newspapers was also present.The protesters also proceeded to picket the Abuja offices of Leadership and The Punch newspapers.Our reporters observed that an unmarked vehicle with armed security personnel hid a street away from Media Trust office apparently providing cover to the protesters. They were joined by the security men in the buses and headed off.When our reporter called one of the telephone numbers on the statement read by the group, the receiver, one Chidi Omeje dissociated himself from the group, saying “who are those people? I do not know about the protest. Well somebody must have cloned my number.”The other number on the speech was not going through when our reporter called.Protester cries out for paymentLawal Mohammed, one of the protesters, decried the non-payment for his services by those who hired him for the job.Mohammed, who says he is a suya (grilled meat) seller in Zone 1, Abuja, told Daily Trust that he was left high and dry after being promised N1000 by the organisers that met him at Eden Park, a relaxation centre in Utako.Speaking in the Hausa language, Mohammed, 27, said “they came to the park around 11 this morning and told me to follow them to some places across the city, coaching us on what to chant when we approach those places.”He said he had no idea what the protest was about but had to follow them because of the promise of payment after the rally, adding that he had participated several times in political rallies for a fee. “Even though they promised us money, it was when we had picketed this company and were heading to the other one in Central Area (Punch) that they told us that our fee was N1000 for each person. But after the business was concluded and they brought us back, I couldn’t get my money,” he said.He added that he thereafter went to Aliyu, another butcher hired for the protest to enquire about the payment process. Aliyu confirmed that he was given N10, 000 for 10 people “but I was not among them.”
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