The Nigerian Army has yet to release the Daily Trust’s regional editor, Mr. Othman Abubakar, over 24 hours after he was arrested in Maiduguri by armed soldiers.
Abubakar was arrested alongside the newspaper’s reporter, Mr. Ibrahim Suwab.
Armed soldiers stormed multiple offices of Daily Trust in Maiduguri, Kaduna, Lagos and the head office in Abuja Sunday afternoon.
They took away computers from the Abuja office in an attack that happened hours after the paper reported on the army’s effort to retake Baga, a fishing community in Borno captured last week by Islamist militants, Boko Haram.
The army later unsealed the offices after a directive from President Muhammadu Buhari.
The paper’s editor-in-chief, Mr. Mannir Dan-Ali, told Premium Times by telephone Monday evening that the reporter, Suwab, was later released while the editor remained in detention.
“He was released in the afternoon but the regional editor, Othman, is still with the military,” he said.
Dan-Ali said the soldiers also took the editor back to the paper’s Maiduguri office on Monday ” to pick his medication and a copy of the paper in contention”.
The military is reportedly unhappy about a story published in the Sunday edition of Daily Trust revealing how the armed forces are preparing a massive operation to retake Baga and other towns in northern Borno that are under the control of Boko Haram terrorists.
Dan-Ali said he spoke briefly with Mr Abubakar, and he told him that the military said “a special team from Abuja was being expected to go to Maiduguri and Interrogate him after which he will be released subject to the provision of a surety”.
He said it was agreed that the chairman of the Borno State chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists would stand as the surety.
“However, since then we are yet to hear from them,” he said.
Asked if Abubakar had told him what the military were asking for, Dan-Ali said ”I tried to ask him but he couldn’t say, it appears there was a limit to what he could say. He however told me he is being treated well.”
The raid has drawn wide condemnation with calls for the journalists to be immediately released.