Operatives of the EcoA�nomic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Monday raided the Head Office of The Sun Publishing Limited, publishA�ers of The Sun Newspapers.
According to a statement by Newspaper, the operatives claimed the raid was on a�?orA�ders from abovea��.
The media firm, which is owned by former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, had been the subject of a forA�feiture order, obtained by the EFCC in a suit against Kalu.
The firm said it had filed an appeal, which was still pending in court and was shocked that its premises could be invaded by the ComA�mission.
The statement claimed the raid, which lasted for one hour, subjected workers to crude intimidation, psychoA�logical and emotional trauma.
The statement said: a�?Law-abiding staff of The Sun PubA�lishing Limited resumed work this morning, June 12, 2017, to behold heavily armed EFCC operatives in our comA�pany. They claimed to have a�?orders from abovea�? to seal up the premises of The Sun Publishing Limited.
a�?At gunpoint, they orA�dered our security personA�nel to take them around the company premises, afA�ter which they proceeded to prevent staff from either enA�tering or leaving the premisA�es, and disrupted our circulaA�tion process.
a�?For one grueling hour, the EFCC operatives subjectA�ed our staff to crude intimidaA�tion, psychological and emoA�tional trauma, even as some of the men accused our organiA�sation of publishing pro-BiaA�fra, Boko Haram, and Niger Delta militant stories, as they surveyed our premises.
a�?We recall that in 2007, (10 years ago) the EFCC had obtained an interim forfeiture order in respect of some assets of The Sun, attached to a suit against our Publisher, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu, for which we have filed an appeal, which is still pending in court.
a�?We also recall that the Acting Chairman of the EFCC, Mr. Ibrahim Magu, had written a letter personalA�ly signed by him dated 23rd of May and received on the 7th of June, asking The Sun management to report to the Commission on 5th of June, detailing our operations in the last 10 years, on account of an interim order of forfeiture unA�der appeal.
a�?As a law-abiding corpoA�rate citizen, our lawyer, Chief Chris Uche SAN, wrote the Commission to intimate the Agency that the issue was pending before the Court of Appeal. The receipt of our correspondence was duly acA�knowledged.
a�?We were therefore shocked that our premisA�es would be invaded by the Commission under whatevA�er guise. This is condemnaA�ble and reprehensible. No one, Agency or authority should be above the laws of our country. An abuse of the law is a reciA�pe for chaos.
a�?Magu had in an earlier letter threatened to sue The Sun over a report published by one of our titles, pertainA�ing to a report on investigaA�tion of a property allegedly traced to his wife. But up till now, we are yet to receive any court process.
a�?In the light of the above, we strongly view this onA�slaught against The Sun as a personal vendetta by the leadA�ership of the Commission, and by extension a declaraA�tion of war against the media.
a�?In this invasion of our premises, it is crystal clear that what Magu and his CommisA�sion are after is not only to inA�timidate and muzzle us, but a furious attempt to call a dog a bad name in order to hang it. On the issue of the interA�im order, which he purportA�edly based his invasion, Magu knows the matter has been on appeal since 2007 for which hearing comes up this week. But rather than wait for the court process, the CommisA�sion under the leadership of Magu, typically resorted to self-help.
a�?We want the public to take note of this authoritariA�anism and highhandedness, which has been the hallmark of Magua��s leadership of the EFCC.
Meanwhile, the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), has given the Economic and Financial Crimes CommisA�sion (EFCC) 72 hours to isA�sue an apology to The Sun Publishing Limited or face a lawsuit.
Chairman of the Lagos NUJ, Deji Elumoye, described the sealing off of the newspaA�per house as a�?barbarica�?.
a�?This is a great violation of the freedom of movement and association of the affectA�ed Nigerian citizens as enA�trenched in the 1999 constiA�tution of Nigeria as amended.
a�?The council, therefore, gives EFCC a 72-hour ultiA�matum to publicly apologise to The Sun management and the affected staff for the unA�warranted siege, failure which we will not hesitate to ask our team of lawyers to seek reA�dress in court,a�? he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, The Sun has filed a motion seeking an inA�junction restraining the EFCC from enforcing the forfeiture order against the paper.