The Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) has joined many Nigerians to condemn the Monday, June 12 invasion of The Sun Newspapers by the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), calling on the Federal Government and all people of reason l to call the anti-graft agency to order for the greater good of the country and rule of law.
A statement issued on Tuesday and signed by NPAN President, Nduka Obaigbena, described EFFCC action as “a self-help mission, a voyage to intimidate journalists, criminalise journalism and cow free speech”.
The statement read: “The Newspaper Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) has received with grave concern, the Monday June 12, 2017 invasion by the operatives of the Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) of the Apapa, Lagos Corporate Headquarters of The Sun Newspapers.
“Facts before the NPAN indicate that the EFCC operatives swooped on the newspaper in the early morning of June 12, while Nigerians were commemorating the historic day of Free Expression, and ordered security men to take them on a guided tour of the premises of the newspaper.
“The EFCC operatives subsequently prevented journalists and staff from performing their constitutional duties, and abridging their rights to Free Speech by preventing those who were in the premises from leaving, and others reporting for duty from entering the premises.
“Although the EFCC said they were there to enforce a 10-year old Interim Order of Forfeiture on the shareholding of Sun Newspapers, the Editors of the Sun Newspapers said the EFCC officials were there on a vengeance and intimidation mission to settle scores on several stories published by the newspaper, including the alleged ownership of certain properties by the wife of the EFCC Acting Chairman for which the Acting Chairman had threatened libel lawsuits. Instead of lawsuits, the EFCC operatives raided the newspaper offices to revive a 10-year old Interim Order of Forfeiture that is already before an appellate court.
“Given these developments, it is our considered view that the EFCC, being a State institution and a creation of the law, cannot be above the law: and the manner of the invasion tends to suggest that the EFCC was out on a self-help mission, a voyage to intimidate journalists, criminalise journalism and cower free speech.
“We should continue to remind ourselves that this crude tactics of invasion of media houses and harassment of journalists did not work in the past, is not going to work now, and will never work. It is unknown to The Constitution of The Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We call on the Federal Government of Nigeria and all people of reason and goodwill to call the EFCC to order for the greater good of the Federal Republic Nigeria and the rule of law”.
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