- Soldiers stormed St. Michael’s Road and confiscated newspapers bearing Biafra reports
- Nigerians condemn the action, describing it as undemocratic
Soldiers have reportedly confiscated newspapers containing reports on the pro-Biafra agitation from vendors in Aba, Abia state.
The Nation reports that the confiscated papers were both unsold and new editions of New Republic, Vesym, Freedom Journal and The Authority.
According to the sources the troops, believed to have come from 144 Battalion, which is under Ohafia 14 Brigade, raided St. Michael’s Road at about 7am in two Hilux vans and confiscated the papers bearing Biafra reports.
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They packed the unsold and current editions of the papers and went away.
One of the sellers said: “At about some minutes past seven, soldiers in two Hilux vans arrived with one of the vendors that they picked along Mosque, asking him to point at the person who gave him the paper. But the vendor could not, because the person who gave him the paper had gone.
“They asked to know the publishers or suppliers but got no response. Then they confiscated New Republic, Vesym, Freedom Journal and some copies of The Authority, which carried Biafra stories.
“We are yet to be told the reason for the confiscation, but the truth is that we have lost money as many readers were disappointed.”
A publisher, who asked not to be named, criticised the action of the soldiers. He said they were overstepping their bounds and pledged that “attempts by the military to gag the press will fail. We are publishing reports about Biafra like other national dailies do. Let them close down all the media houses because they are carrying Biafra stories, after all, we are not the only ones publishing stories on Biafra.”
The foundation for Environmental Rights Advocacy and Development, a non-governmental organization, issued a statement criticizing the development. It defined it as anti-democratic adding that soldiers have no right to confiscate newspapers, no matter what is published, except on the orders of a competent court.
“Nigeria is not a banana republic and therefore, the principles of democracy, as practiced elsewhere, should be respected,” it said.
The arrest of the IPOB leader and director of Radio Biafra, Nnamdi Kanu, has caused an upsurge of protests in the south-east. Pro-Biafran activists are protesting against Kanu's continuing detention. Kanu was arrested in Lagos in October 2015 and is standing trial for treasonable felony charges.