The military authorities are after Abuja based Daily Trust again, a year after invading its headquarters. But, this time, it is Mr. Olatunji Omirin, the Borno State Correspondent of the newspaper who was handcuffed from the NUJ Press Centre in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital earlier today and taken to Maimalari Barrack in the town.
The matter has put the Borno Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ) in a foul mood as for it to expresses bitterness “of all our members” over the manner personnel of the Nigeria Army penetrated the Press Center to take away the journalist.
Although he has been released, the union says it sees the move to be detrimental to the democratic tradition and an attempt at trampling on the dignity of professional journalists. The statement signed by Bulama Talba and Mohammed Ibrahim, Chairman and Secretary respectively recalls a similar incident same time last year.
“We the members of the pen profession in Borno State have been and will continue to live up to our responsibilities of informing the government and citizens on happenings as a way of promoting the safety of all and improve living conditions at all times”, the union leaders said, adding how union members from various media have been carrying out their duties, putting issues in the right perspectives for proper agenda setting by government and the military and mobilizing the citizenry to support programmes and operations that follow. They further argued how remarkly well Olatunji Omirin has been doing that.
“NUJ feels it is quite unfortunate that this is happening now when we all need to be on the same page to move our country from armed conflict to peaceful resolutions of disputes for development to thrive instead of playing into the wishes of elements that promote discord in the nation”, said the sharp statement which insists things can even be done better if the NUJ, concerned media organisations and other stakeholders were called for regular interactions “towards finding a common ground on the way forward beyond this modus operandi”.
The military has yet to respond to the statement which has heavily interrogated the show of force where none seems called for. But, until they speak, it may be a case of entering a judgment on the basis of the submission of one party.