Newspapers Owners Condemn, Govt Defends Siege by Nigerian Army

Nigerian media owners have condemned as an "attack on free speech" the military confiscation of the country's leading newspapers. On Friday and Saturday, soldiers harassed newspaper distributors and vendors and seized copies of at least four newspapers - Leadership, Daily Trust, the Nation and Punch. A statement issued after an emergency meeting Saturday, Newspaper Proprietors Association called for an immediate end to the seige and welcomes assurance by "senior security officials to end this unnecessary siege." In a statement late on Saturday, the Presidency denied responsibility for the military's action adding that security measures in "'trying times" requires "that some section or sectors of the society might experience some temporary discomfort." The opposition APC has condemned the military's actions.

Though the Defence spokesperson, Major-General Chris Olukolade denied the clampdown, the army intercepted Daily Trust newspaper distribution to some states of the country and there was heavy presence of military men near the corporate headquarters of Media Trust Limited