The Atiku-Agbaje Media Engagement Network has called on media organisations in Nigeria to shun the All Progressives Congress led government activities following the invasion of the premises of Daily Trust in Abuja and Maiduguri, Borno State.
It will be recalled that Armed soldiers had, on Sunday, invaded the premises of the media outfit in Abuja and Maiduguri, taking away computers, laptops while they also arrested some of its employees.
However, AAMEN in a statement on Monday issued by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Felix Oboagwina, said the military’s action showed “a violent descent into anarchy, impunity and human rights abuse.”
The group insisted that, should the military “remain recalcitrant” and refuse to vacate the newspaper’s premises, the media should immediately embark on a blackout of government activities.
It read in part, “Until the reopening of Daily Trust, the vacating of its premises and release of the abducted journalists, we shall urge the print and electronic media to immediately embark on the boycot of government and APC activities.”
AAMEN said the assault on the medium amounted to “traducing Press Freedom and the Freedom of Information Act.”
Describing the occupation of the newspaper’s Abuja and Maiduguri offices as “a recourse to anarchy and dictatorship,” AAMEN demanded that the government tender an unreserved apology to Daily Trust in particular and to Nigerians in general.
“This injudicious resort to self-help and intimidation is condemnable, highhanded and undemocratic.
“There are clear and extant provisions in the country’s law books for whoever is aggrieved to seek redress.
“That the Army took the laws into its own hands is wrong and whoever gave the directive to clamp down on Daily Trustdeserves to be reviewed and sanctioned.
“President Muhammadu Buhari and his goons are taking us back to 1983 and Decree 4. This shows how wrong those who say he is a born-again dictator have been.
“We are witnessing Nigeria’s slide into anarchy and tyranny with this high-handed clampdown on the newspaper,” it added.
AAMEN described as “weak and puerile” the Army’s statement on Monday that the invasion was because the newspaper leaked secret documents on security operations.
“Nothing can justify the Army’s deployment of troops to a civil organisation”.
“Clearly, the Army high command is dissipating energy on a matter for the Police and the courts when its firepower is required in the theatre of Boko Haram insurgency,” AAMEN said.
The Federal Government has, meanwhile, ordered the soldiers to vacate the newspaper’s premises.