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CISLAC condemns military invasion of Daily Trust offices

CISLAC Executive Director, Auwal
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) condemns in totality the methods deployed by Nigerian Army in her response to its allegation of professional misdeeds related to some publications by Daily Trust Newspapers.
This was contained in a statement Tuesday by Executive Director, CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) in an email to Apex News.
The statement condemned “The unnecessary show of excessive force and arbitrary arrests of staff of the media outfit, as well as the invasion of Daily Trust Offices in Abuja and Maiduguri, amounts to intimidation and threat to freedom of press and undermines the rule of law.”
According to Rafsanjani, a free and proactive press is indispensable in a true democratic society and remains a veritable platform for informing and educating citizens to effectively engage issues of governance, while also holding government accountable which is possible only by public presentation of facts, and articulation or publication of findings without fear or favour.
He said CISLAC was surprised that after about two decades of Nigeria’s return to democratic system, enabling instrument of democracy like freedom of press remains a difficult thing to achieve, despite the provision of Section 39(1) of the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria that, “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of expression, including freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart ideas and information without interference.”
The statement noted that Section 39(2) of the constitution grants every person the right to own, establish and operate any medium for the dissemination of information, ideas and opinions subject to laws enacted by the National Assembly.
CISLAC explained that it was seriously disturbed by the persistent and unchecked violation of the rule of law in recent times by security agencies including unjustifiable threats against vital institutions of democracy and human rights in the country.
According to him, CISLAC was concerned by the existing high-handed response deployed by security agencies to civil issues and their level of misconducts, creating public doubt about their readiness and credibility to sincerely conduct themselves appropriately in 2019 general elections without fear or favour.
He said the Armed Forces are mandated to defend the territorial integrity of the country, but engaging constant intimidation against civil policing is way out of its constitutional authority.
The Executive Director pointed out that while CISLAC believes that journalists and the media should be responsible within the rule of law and avoid acts that could undermine the peace and security of the nation, it insisted that the military cannot resort to self-help and excessive show of force to intimidate civilians whenever it feels aggrieved.
“The security agencies must desist from taking the laws into its hands as there are proper channels to be followed whenever it feels that it has issues with organizations or persons. Resorting to the use of force and intimidation to harass, not only the supposed ‘enemy,’ but for all living around their area of siege, must to be discontinued. Nigeria must continue to count itself among the comity of civilized nations,” the statement added.
CISLAC, the statement stressed, demands the immediate release of the undemocratically arrested personnel of Daily Trust Newspapers, while calling for adequate oversight activities by relevant legislative committees in the National Assembly on the conduct of military agents across the country.

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