Timothy Olanrewaju, Maiduguri
The Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Borno State council has asked the military to release unconditionally one of the Daily Trust staff still in its custody.
NUJ in a statement after an emergency meeting and visit to the Theatre Command of Operation Lafiya Dole on Tuesday in Maiduguri, asked the military to release Mr Uthman Abubakar, Daily Trust newspaper North East Bureau Chief in its custody. It condemned the continuous detention of the journalist.
“The Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ) Borno council having exhausted all diplomatic avenues to secure the release of Daily Trust newspaper Bureau Chief Uthman Abubakar, strongly condemns his continued detention by the military,” the union said in a statement signed by its secretary, Mohammed Ibrahim.
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It expressed concerned that the journalist was still in military detention 48 hours after the presidency ordered the military to resolve the disputing issue with the newspaper. It said the military and media in the state had enjoyed good relationship but added that the current posture of the military could jeopardise such position.
“The pen profession and armed forces have enjoyed a long cordial relationship before and during the Boko Haram insurgency which has lasted almost ten years now.
“Let us all not give in to the antiques of the insurgents who will be happy with this negative trend and remain united to fully overcome the elements of terror,” it warned.
Earlier, the leadership of the union had met the Theatre Commander, Operation Lafiya Dole, Major Gen Benson Akinroluyo at the command headquarters.
The TC assured that he would look into the matter after consulting with the authority. He appealed to the media not to allow the incident affect its relationship with the military.
Soldiers on Sunday laid siege to the offices of Daily Trust in Maiduguri and Abuja. They arrested Uthman Abubakar and Ibrahim Sawab, a reporter at the Maiduguri. Sawab was released on Sunday night but Uthman is believed to be with them.