The Nigerian Army has explained that it invaded the offices of media company, Daily Trust, for sabotaging its war against terrorist group, Boko Haram, through its publication.
Soldiers had invaded the organisation's offices in Maiduguri, Borno, and Abuja on Sunday, January 6, 2019, arresting members of staff and seizing several computers. The presidency later released a statement to say that President Muhammadu Buhari had called for an end to the occupation of both offices.
According to a statement signed by the Director of Army Public Relations, Brigadier General Sani Usman, on Monday, January 7, the raids were as a result of a recent story published by Daily Times where the organisation allegedly disclosed classified military information to the public.
Usman said the disclosure of the details of planned military operations against Boko Haram was a breach of national security and endangered the lives of troops in the northeast.
He said, "We would like to state that soldiers of the Nigerian Army 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."
The Army further cautioned Nigerians, especially journalists, to be responsible and professional with their reportage, promising that the military 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.
"We wish to appeal to all, especially the media, to join hands with the Nigerian military and security forces to end terrorism and insurgency in Nigeria.
"We would like to further assure that the invitation is for further investigation and if need be, all those culpable of jeopardising operations security will be prosecuted by the relevant law enforcement agency," the statement read.