Published On: Tue, Jan 8th, 2019

Army Freed Daily Trust Bureau Chief, Uthman Abubakar,

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Daily Trust

Detained Maiduguri Bureau Chief of Daily Trust newspaper, Uthman Abubakar, has been released.

The Newspaper confirmed Tuesday that Mr. Abubakar was freed after spending about 48 hours in military custody.

He was arrested alongside, Ibrahim Sawab, a reporter when armed soldiers raided the Daily Trust’s offices in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna and Maiduguri.

However, Mr. Sawab, had earlier regained freedom following wide condemnation that greeted the Army’s raid.

The Nigerian Army, in a statement Sunday said it invaded the newspaper premises to invite the staff over a divulged classified military information that undermined national security.

According to the statement, “soldiers along with elements of Nigeria Police Force and other Security Agencies were indeed at Abuja and Maiduguri offices of the publishing company to invite the staff of the company over its lead story on Sunday Trust publication, which divulged classified military information, thus undermining national security.

“In it, the newspaper made disclosed details of planned military operations against the Boko Haram terrorists. The disclosure of classified security information amounts to a breach of national security and run contrary to Sections 1 and 2 of the Official Secrets Act.

“It afforded the Boko Haram terrorists prior notice of our plans and giving them early warning to prepare against the Nigerian military, thus sabotaging the planned operations and putting the lives of troops in imminent and clear danger.

“We would like to state that the invitation of those responsible for divulging military plans was done with the best of intention in order to make them realise the import of such acts to our national security. We therefore advice all, particularly journalists, not to worry but engage in their responsive reportage and to be professional as the Nigerian Army has no intention of muzzling the press or jeopardising press freedom.

“We however, wish to enjoin further that they should eschew jeopardizing national security in their reportage. We would not tolerate situation where a publication would consistently side with terrorists and undermine our National institutions,” the Army said.

But Editor-in-Chief of Daily Trust, Mannir Dan-Ali, on Tuesday announced the release of Mr. Abubakar.

According to him, Mr Abubakar was taken back to the Maiduguri office by an unnamed Army major who handed him over to a security staff at the paper’s office.

He said Mr. Abubakar was treated courteously, adding however that his mobile phones and laptop are yet to be released by the military.

Mr. Dan-Ali also said other computers confiscated by the Army from the newspaper’s Abuja head office have similarly not been returned.

“Senior government officials have continued to say that the items will be released shortly, ” he said.

“They told him that they need time to finish the forensic checks they are carrying out on the equipment,” he further said.

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