The Nigerian Army has debunked claims by an online news media (not YNaija) that it arrested ten journalists on Thursday.
In a statement issued by its spokesman Colonel Sani Usman, the Army said it arrested the persons in conjunction with operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS).
The statement said the persons upon arrest did not identify themselves as journalists, neither were they able to mention the media house they worked for.
The statement said, “The attention of the Nigerian Army has been drawn to an online publications alleging that Soldiers of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army and personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS) Edo State command of arresting and molesting 10 journalists in Benin, Edo State earlier today. This is not correct as the online media did not get their facts right.
“It is important to state that sequel to the prevailing security situation in the state which led to the postponement of the earlier scheduled Gubernatorial Election in Edo State, there were credible security reports that some unpatriotic persons have hired hoodlums with the intention of causing mayhem during the forthcoming election in the State. The reports further showed that the suspected hoodlums have been lodged in some hotels within Benin city and its environs.
“Acting on this, the DSS in conjunction with troops of 4 Brigade Nigerian Army carried out cordon and search operations in the suspected areas. This led to the arrest of 10 suspected persons in one of the hotel. Among the suspects arrested was a deserted soldier.
“It is pertinent to state that none of the arrested suspects identified himself as a journalist or mention the media he reports for, contrary to the allegations of the online media. In addition, quite a number of incriminating items including INEC sensitive materials were recovered from them.
“That notwithstanding, all the suspects were treated humanely and in the most dignified manner which has always been in accordance with our Code of Conduct and the tradition. Therefore none of them was molested at all during the operation and subsequent handing over to the relevant security agency.”
Dolapo is a writer and journalist who works with YNaija. He has interests in Christianity, politics and sports.