Journalists criticize Nigerian government for newspaper restrictions

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News ID: 4355
Publish Date: 8:21 - 09 June 2014
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Journalists have criticized a recent military crackdown on some newspapers in Nigeria, accusing the government of restricting press freedom.
The Nigerian military has placed restrictions on some newspapers, saying that it suspects delivery vans may have been used to transport explosive devices across the country. 

However, according to reports, the crackdown may be the result of a particular newspaper report about 12 military generals being court-martialed for aiding terrorist group Boko Haram. 

The military has since denied these reports, adding that the crackdown on some newspapers is merely routine security and not targeted at the content or operation of the affected newspapers. However, many journalists disagreed. "It's not routine. It's not usual. If it is usual, then there would not be an outrage over it. It's unusual, it's undemocratic, it's inexplicable. 

They told us that it's about security and that does not explain anything," said Bolade Omonijo, a journalist from Nigeria's Nation Newspaper. Although newspapers have not been greatly affected in the capital city Lagos, some reports indicated that the crackdown has been worse in other parts of the country. 

"In some places they even detained the vehicles and detained the drivers until evening just to ensure that they could not circulate. So it was a well planned action and it was coordinated in most parts of the country," said Omonijo. 

About 270 girls were abducted from a boarding school in the Chibok community in northeastern Nigeria's Borno State in April. 

Extremist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the act in a video and threatened to sell the girls. The abduction has drawn international condemnation. 

As over fifty days have passed without any trace of the schoolgirls, the United Kingdom has called a ministerial meeting this month to discuss new strategies to combat the sect, closely following a similar meeting held in Paris last month. 

"The fact that the international community is showing a lot of concern. I think it bodes well for fraternity of countries and states among themselves," said Achike Chude, a Nigerian political analyst. 

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has assured the country that his government will soon end the Boko Haram insurgency. 

"God willing, the issues of Boko Haram or other criminal elements will soon come to be history in this country," President Jonathan said.

AP
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