EFCC invades The Sun, media outfit heads to Appeal Court
NGE, NUJ condemns invasion
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) operatives yesterday morning invaded the Lagos office of the Sun Newspapers in Apapa, disrupting its operations.
The operatives also accused the newspaper of publishing ethnically biased stories to undermine the leadership of the commission.
Although, it was not clear if there was any warrant to search the premises of the publishing house, the EFCC boss, Ibrahim Magu, it was learnt had been at loggerheads with the newspaper over a report on a property allegedly traced to Magu’s wife.
The Guardian learnt that Magu had in an earlier letter threatened to sue The Sun over the report. But the management in a statement after the assault condemned the act.
The statement read: “For one grueling hour, EFCC operatives subjected our staff to crude intimidation, psychological and emotional trauma, even as some of the men accused our organisation of publishing pro-Biafra, Boko Haram and Niger Delta militant stories, as they surveyed our premises.
“We call on well-meaning citizens and relevant authorities to restrain Magu and his Commission from taking the laws into their hands.” Poised to forestall further invasion of its office by the operatives of EFCC, The Sun Newspaper yesterday dragged the anti- graft agency before Abuja
division of the Appeal Court.
In a motion of notice filed by their counsel, Chief Chris Uche SAN, the newspaper is demanding an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the EFCC or its agents from enforcing or attempting to enforce order of Justice Anwuli Chikere of a Federal High Court Abuja pending the hearing and determination of its pending appeal.
The applicant in the motion brought pursuant to Order 4 Rule 6& Order 6 rule of Court of Appeal Rule 2016 S15, Court of Appeal Act , 2004 and under the inherent jurisdiction of the court hinged the motion on the ground that there was a pending appeal before the court on the matter Sun newspaper also contended that it has filed a motion for stay of execution of the exparte interim order made by Justice Chikere, which is adversely affecting the newspaper and which is pending before the court.
Meanwhile the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has condemned the invasion by operatives of the EFCC. NGE in a statement by its President, Funke Egbèmode said it received with shock news of the invasion of the premises of The Sun Publishing Limited by heavily armed EFCC operatives in the early hours of June 12, 2017.
The Guild notes that the latest affront on the newspaper by operatives of the EFCC is one in a number of targeted attempts to gag free press. The Guild called 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 Limited.
Also, the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Lagos State Council, has condemned the invasion. The Council in a statement by the Chairman, Deji Elumoye, described as barbaric the Gestapo- style seal up of the newspaper house.
The union expressed shock over EFCC’s action on the media outfit without any search warrant, subjecting innocent workers to unnecessary harassment and stress.
The Council therefore gave EFCC a 72-hour ultimatum to publicly apologise to The Sun management and the affected staff for the unwarranted siege, adding, “We will not hesitate to ask our team of lawyers to seek redress in court.”