Atiku condemns raid of Daily Trust offices and asks Buhari to call his boys to order

FORMER vice president Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has condemned Sunday's invasion of the Daily Trust offices in Maiduguri and Abuja by armed soldiers calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to call his supporters to order and not suppress press freedom.


Yesterday, armed troops invaded the paper's offices and arrested its northern regional editor Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab. Alhaji Abubakar, who is standing against President Buhari in next month's presidential elections as the Peoples Democratic Party candidate, called on the president to do everything possible to guarantee press freedoms before, during and after the 2019 general elections.


In a statement issued by his media aide, Paul Ibe, Alhaji Abubakar said: "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 as 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.”


Alhaji Abubakar also urged President Buhari  to use his powers as commander-in-chief to protect the people, rather than to oppress Nigerians. He added that if the government has issues with Media Trust, it should bring charges against them in a court of competent jurisdiction or the Nigeria Press Council, the statutory body that governs ethical standards in the press.