The Defence Headquarters has denied that military confiscated critical newspapers Friday morning, clarifying that it only investigated an intelligence tip-off that a newspaper van was used to convey sensitive materials with severe security implications.
Despite the denial, there was a stir in main newspaper distribution centres in Ilorin, Kwara State as armed soldiers yesterday invaded the distribution centre along Emir's road, searching for some newspapers claimed to have carried a report about some top officers of the Nigeria Army.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director of Defence Information (DDI), Maj-Gen. Chris Olukolade, confirming that "troops embarked on thorough search of vehicles conveying newspapers and newsprints across board".
Olukalde disclosed that "this followed intelligence report indicating movement of materials with grave security implications across the country using the channel of newsprint related "The DHQ wishes to clarify that the exercise has nothing to do with content or operation of the media organisations or their personnel as is being wrongly imputed by a section of the press", he said.
According to the Defence Spokesman, the military appreciates and indeed respects the role of the media as an indispensable partner in the ongoing counter-insurgency operation and the overall advancement of our country's democratic credentials. As such, he added, the military will not deliberately and without cause, infringe on the freedom of the press.
"The general public and the affected media organizations in particular are assured that the exercise was a routine security action and should not be misconstrued for any other motive", he urged.