The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council and the Nigeria Guild of Editors on Monday condemned invasion of the Apapa, Lagos premises of The Sun Newspapers by operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
A statement by the Chairman of the Council, Mr Deji Elumoye, described the seal-up of the newspaper house as “barbaric’’.
The union wondered why the EFCC would ransack the premises of the media outfit without any search warrant and subject innocent workers to undue stress.
According to the statement, the EFCC by the invasion had infringed on the fundamental human rights of the workers whose movement in and out of the company premises was curtailed by security operatives for over an hour
“This is a great violation of the freedom of movement and association of the affected citizens, as entrenched in the 1999 Constitution of Nigeria, as amended.
“The Council, therefore, gave EFCC a 72-hour ultimatum to publicly apologise to the Management of The Sun and the affected staff, for the unwarranted siege, failure which we will not hesitate to ask our team of lawyers to seek redress in court,’’ the union said.
It added that if The Sun as a media outfit had erred or had issues with EFCC or anybody or an organisation, the Court of Law is the proper place to seek redress, rather than taking the laws into their hands as EFCC just did.
In its own reaction, the NGE has expressed shock over the news of the invasion of the premises of the SUN Publishing Ltd by heavily-armed EFCC Operatives in the early hours of June 12, 2017.
A statement in Lagos on Monday, signed by the NGE president, Mrs Funke Egbemode, said: “the fierce-looking operatives prevented staff of the organisation from either entering or leaving the premises of the company and disrupted the circulation process’’.
The statement said the EFCC had accused THE SUN of publishing pro-Biafra, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militant stories.
“As a statutory agency birthed by an Act of Parliament in a democracy, we had expected the EFCC to explore civil means of perceived infraction by a critical stakeholder in the Nigerian democratic project.’’
It lamented that the forfeiture order allegedly brandished by the EFCC at THE SUN on Monday morning was 10 years old and a matter still before the Court of Appeal.
“The Guild, therefore, urges the EFCC to purge itself of all anti-democratic tendencies in order to foster mutual cooperation with the media and other stakeholders in its anti-graft crusade.
“The Guild calls on the EFCC to put an end to its current attempts to gag the Press and also demands an unreserved apology from the commission to THE SUN Publishing Ltd. (NAN)