By Dirisu Yakubu
ABUJA- Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has condemned Sunday invasion of Daily Trust offices in Maiduguri and Abuja, likening the development to an attack on the rights and freedom of Nigerians.
Atiku also picked holes in the arrest of the Newspaper’s northern regional editor, Uthman Abubakar and a reporter, Ibrahim Sawab.
In a statement issued Monday by his media aide, Paul Ibe, Atiku called on President Muhammadu Buhari to do everything possible to guarantee press freedom before, during and after the 2019 general elections.
“We totally condemn these actions and call on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately call his forces to order and end their attack on the media and the freedom of the press.
“This is a travesty, the likes of which we have not seen since the heinous days of military rule. Atiku Abubakar and other pro-democrats did not risk their lives fighting for democracy for this to happen.
“This is unacceptable. The media is not only a partner in progress to the government, but they are also a quasi-arm of government being, as Edmund Burke propounded, the Fourth Estate of the Realm.
“The particular use of heavily armed soldiers also shows the abuse of scarce resources which has exacerbated the insecurity currently plaguing Nigeria.
“Our soldiers should not be used to target law-abiding citizens. A dutiful and prudent Commander-in-Chief should rather deploy them to either the Northeast or the Zamfara-Katsina axis, especially after the governors of both states held New Year’s Day conferences bemoaning the breakdown of law and order in their respective states,” the statement read in part.
The former Vice President also urged the first citizen to use his powers as Commander-in- Chief to protect the people, rather than to oppress Nigerians, stressing that “if the government has issues with Media Trust Limited, it should bring charges against them at a court of competent jurisdiction or the Nigeria Press Council, the statutory body that governs ethical standards in the Nigerian press.”