The Nigerian Bar Association has enjoined Nigerian military authorities and other departments of government to exercise restraints and follow due process whenever their activities affect the citizens of Nigeria.
The NBA made this statement whilst reaching to the invasion of the Daily Trust premises by the Nigerian military authorities.
INVASION OF THE PREMISES OF DAILY TRUST NEWSPAPERS BY PERSONNEL OF THE NIGERIAN ARMY
The Nigerian Bar Association views with dismay, the reported invasion of the Maiduguri, Abuja and Lagos offices of the Daily Trust Newspapers by personnel of the Nigerian Army on Sunday, which resulted in the detention of some members of staff and disruption of business activities of the organization.
While the NBA loathes to speculate on the motives behind the said invasion, it is instructive to state that respect for the rule of law is an integral part of any democratic culture and therefore all agencies and departments of Government cannot be seen to be acting above the law.
Power of arrest, detention and prosecution for any civil offence remains within the purview of the Nigerian Police and other sister prosecutorial agencies, of which the Nigerian Army is not one of them.
The Nigerian Bar Association enjoins the military authorities and other agencies of Government to exercise great restraints and follow due process whenever their activities affect the citizens of the Federal Republic of Nigeria
Freedom of expression is a cardinal and fundamental right guaranteed by the Nigerian Constitution and the Press as the 4th realm of the estate must be encouraged in ensuring that the activities of governments and their officials are made accountable to the people, by their reportage. Invasion of premises of media houses and carting away documents without valid search warrant is very worrying.
The Nigerian Bar Association therefore urges the Nigerian Army to respect the fundamental rights of the personnel of Daily Trust Newspapers who are reported to still be in theit custody by releasing them or hand them over to the appropriate agency to take over the investigation and charge them to court, if any crime has been committed.
Kunle Edun, Esq
National Publicity Secretary
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