The Northern Media Forum (NMF) has urged Media Trust Limited, publisher of the Daily Trust titles not to be discouraged by the recent invasion of its offices in Abuja, Lagos and Maiduguri, by a combine team of armed soldiers and other security operatives.
The Chairman of NMF, Mr. Dan Agbese, who led other members of the forum on a solidarity visit to the Media Trust Headquarters, said the invasion was unfortunate and something unexpected to be happening in the country anymore.
This is as the Director General of the No Sidon Look (NSL), a youth civil society organisation, Mr. Potrait Peterson, at a news conference, urged the Media Trust to be steadfast in the discharge of their responsibilities to the nation.
“There are ways that things like these can be resolved and you don’t have to show force because if you show force, you create problems. It is very sad that we have some elements in the military who believe that force is the way to go and that they have absolute right or absolute freedom to assault the only freedom that everybody in the world is entitled to freedom of speech and of the press from which the freedom of the press is there is but if you assault that freedom, every other kind of freedom is assaulted.
“It is an assault on the freedom of association and we feel very sad because this is the second time this thing has happened. The first one they say they were searching for some materials being conveyed in the distribution classes vans something theory that nobody had ever heard. I have never had that sort of thing before how someone can contrive to do that assuming the right to dictate how things should be done,” Agbese said.
According to him, the development is a challenge for all and which must be confronted, “we stood up against them before and we must continue to stand up against them.”
He added, “Last year 260 journalists throughout the world were murdered, not for committing crimes but for doing their jobs and so the danger is always there and some of us will have to make sacrifices so that those coming behind us can enjoy the freedom that we are fighting for. If you were intimidated in the past, you would not have gone to this extent it is not the time now for you to feel jittery about anything so long as you believe in what you’re doing. So long as your reports are accurate and your comments fair.”
Responding, the Editor-in-Chief/CEO, Mallam Mannir Dan Ali, said the Media Trust remained committed to continue what it is doing and is not intimidated in any way.
“As a company, we are considering our options, the harassment has not actually stopped, and we have support both locally and internationally. But, this one that you can in your offices as a group is the most gratifying and it makes us stronger, meaning that we are not alone. So I don’t think the might of the military is actually enough to cow us and we would continue to do our best,” he said.
Meanwhile, the NSL urged the duo of Uthman Abubakar and Ibrahim Sawab, the two reporters of Media Trust arrested by soldiers in Maiduguri to be steadfast as Nigerian youths are behind them and their employers.