The United Kingdom yesterday condemned Sunday’s military invasion of the Daily Trust newspaper offices in Borno and Abuja and the arrest of its journalists by soldiers.
In a statement issued in Abuja, the UK Department of International Development in Nigeria described the action as rash, adding that a free press, which is able to challenge and comment on the actions of the country was an essential cornerstone and hallmark of democracy across the globe, arguing that “this freedom is an inviolable and absolute right.”
Its Communications Officer, David Smith, advised the military to engage in constructive dialogue with stakeholders on how best to work together to deliver for the people of Nigeria.
The DFID stated, “Whilst we welcome the swift and decisive action from the Federal Government in resolving this incident, the existence of the raid alone remains a concerning development in Nigeria.
“The United Kingdom believes that freedom of the press and freedom of speech are fundamental democratic principles, and their right is absolute and inviolable.
“A free press is the hallmark of a civilised and democratic nation, and efforts to subvert or silence such organisations are the colours of tyranny and authoritarianism.
“Rather than resorting to rash tactics of raids and arrests, a strong foundation of dialogue and trust will resolve issues before they create friction.”
The United Kingdom said it would continue to monitor the situation closely, particularly as the 2019 presidential election drew closer.
Also, the Head of the UK Department for International Development in Nigeria, Ms Debbie Palmer, said, “This is a concerning development for Nigeria, and I am disappointed that such rash action was taken by the authorities.”