The Nigerian military continued the clampdown on some Nigerian Newspapers as it confiscated several thousand copies of Leadership and Daily Trust newspapers on Monday and Tuesday in Minna, Niger State, and Sokoto State.
The clampdown on the media, which began last Friday, has been condemned by several Nigerians with the military describing it as a “routine security exercise.”
The federal government has also defended the military’s actions, but denied that President Goodluck Jonathan gave such order.
While confirming the seizure of its papers on Tuesday, the Managing Director of Leadership Group, Azubuike Ishiekwene, said “The military seized our paper in Minna yesterday, Monday; and today, Tuesday. We have no problems in other parts of the country at this time.”
Mr. Ishiekwene also revealed that the newspaper has suffered serious losses “and are deeply concerned about the attack on our business and the freedom of the press by the military apparently on orders.”
“We are considering legal option,” he added.
The Daily Trust Newspapers also had its Tuesday edition confiscated around 5 a.m. in Sokoto by military officials, the company’s Associate Director of Business, Aliu Akhtar, had alleged.
“Our van was stopped this (Tuesday) morning along the Kano-Sokoto Express way and our papers were seized and I as I speak to you, our paper is yet to be released.
“This is totally undemocratic and we cannot rule out taking legal action against the military if the harassment continues. We are counting our losses now,” Mr. Akhtar said.
Meanwhile, Nigerians have continued to describe the clampdown on newspapers as unfortunate and tragic.
A publisher and former presidential candidate, Dele Momodu, said, “It is very tragic under a civilian administration. The Commander-in-Chief must call them to order urgently before they drag our country down.”
Also former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, stated via his verified Twitter account, @Atiku, that “Nigeria is a democracy, and freedom of the press is a non-negotiable component of democratic governments.”
“By attacking the press, and arresting journalists, aren’t we slowly edging back to the dark days of military dictatorship? The war on terror needs citizens’ and press’ cooperation, which is being made difficult by the harassment of the press,” the opposition leader said.