Nigerian Army seems to be all out for the Media Trust Limited, publishers of Daily Trust, Weekly Trust, Sunday Trust newspapers. Officers of the Army, this morning, continued their assault on the newspapers when they prevented the distribution and sale of WEEKLY TRUST, the Saturday edition of the newspaper in many parts of the country.
The assault began at dawn yesterday.
The Trust’s headache may have been caused by an exclusive story it published on Wednesday on the sharing of an Abuja barrack plots to Army generals and their spouses for personal use.
The report listed the beneficiaries of the plots as serving and retired military officers. It also reflected the reactions of relevant Army authorities and officials of the Federal Capital Territory Administration.
A statement issued today by management of the company said that the distribution drivers of the newspapers, who were detained at dawn yesterday, following the interception of their delivery vans, were not released until late night while two of them, Ibrahim Umar and Ilya Mohammed, were still being detained more than 24 hours later.
Part of the statement in full goes thus:
“In Abuja where DAILY TRUST head office is located, armed soldiers in four trucks were stationed at the newspapers’ main distribution centre in Area One.
“The soldiers, who were fully armed, insisted on carrying out the “order from above” to flip through each of the several thousand copies of WEEKLY TRUST in search of alleged “security risk material.
“Even when they finished spinning the newspapers without finding any incriminating item the soldiers still prevented our sales personnel from distributing WEEKLY TRUST to thousands of anxious vendors who make a living from newspaper retailing.
“In Kano where the DAILY TRUST has its second major printing press, thousands of copies of WEEKLY TRUST were barred from leaving the press.
“This prevented the supply of the newspaper to many states in the North West Nigeria including Sokoto, Jigawa, Kebbi, Katsina and Zamfara.
Similarly, the copies printed at the Maiduguri press were prevented from being circulated in the North East Nigeria in a bid to starve the readers in Yobe, Adamawa, Taraba, Bauchi and Gombe states.”