Friday, 6 June 2014

How Nigerian Soldiers siezed the Nation and Vanguard newspapers today

The Nigerian military on Friday said the confiscation of. Some major newspapers this morning was what it called ' a routine security action'
Some armed men in military uniforms had earlier this morning intercepted delivery vans conveying Leadership, Punch and Nation newspapers to different zones.
A top official of Leadership, Azubuike Ishiekwene said some of the drivers where still being held. The Punch Editor, Toyosi Ogunseye said the front pages of today's Punch were torn at the Lagos airport by these men.
But Defence spokesman, Major General Chris Olukolade said ' intelligence indicated that materials with grave security implications were being moved across the country through newsprint related consignments'
According to him ' the exercise had nothing to do with content or operation of the media organizations or their personnel as is being wrongly imputed by a section of the press'
However, the military failed to explain why after its men discovered the vans contained no materials that could breach security, they were not released.
Soldiers had on Friday morning impounded several vehicles conveying The Nation Newspapers to various stations in the South-south and other parts of the country.
A van conveying the day’s newspapers to Warri and Benin City was seized by soldiers of the 3 Battalion of the Nigerian Army at Okwuokoko, Delta State.
Similarly, a detachment of troops stormed The Nation’s circulation depot located on Effurun, Sapele in search of the newspapers and the company’s staff.
A source at the Effurun Barracks told our reporter that the troops were acting on “orders from above.”
It was further learnt that troops also invaded the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Press Centre in Benin in a similar mission to seize Friday’s edition of the paper.
Our correspondent in Benin, Mr. Ben Ogbemudia, said, “as I text you they have laid ambush in Benin waiting for the company’s newspapers.”
In another development, Soldiers have prevented the distribution of today’s edition of Vanguard newspaper in Ibadan, the capital of Oyo state, just as the circulation vehicles going to the South South and South East with the papers were stopped at Ore and Warri in Ondo and Delta states respectively.
In Ibadan, our correspondent gathered that Vanguard was not the only target as two other newspaper vans were also impounded, their drivers detained with their phones seized.
The soldiers have however cordoned off  all roads leading to Oke Padre, a major distribution point for newspapers and magazines in the South West.
Chairman, Newspaper Distribution Agents of Nigeria, NDAN Oyo State, Mr. Abimbola Tunde, said more than 100 soldiers stormed the distribution point and seized all the papers.
“We don’t know any reason for this”, he said.

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