Pa Ayo Adebanjo, an elder statesman and Afenifere chieftain, has reacted to the alleged closure of The SUN newspapers by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Vanguard reports that Adebanjo said the development signalled a bad omen for Nigeria and the media industry.
“All these happenings are indications that we are back to the full military regime. A complete tyranny is what is going on,” the elder statesman was quoted to have said.
Adebanjo also linked the development to the hate speech bill which is being considered for passage into law by the Senate.
The Afenifere chieftain called on the Nigerian media not to keep quiet but stand up and defend the masses.
Meanwhile, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the management of the newspaper company appealed to the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) and the minister of justice to stop the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC) from sealing the company’s corporate headquarters.
The company’s management said three EFCC officials visited The SUN’s corporate headquarters in Lagos and put up a notice for the staff and the general public to keep off the premises.
The operatives also reportedly put up “EFCC, keep off” inscription on the company’s fence.
The anti-graft commission commenced the move on Saturday, December 14, by marking properties belonging to Senator Kalu.
The EFCC’s action is reportedly in a bid to seek reparation for the N7.65b Kalu was convicted of stealing from the Abia state treasury.
The marking of the properties is to ensure that the properties are not dissipated as the Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos, had ruled that Kalu’s company, Slok Nigeria Limited, be wound up and all assets forfeited to the federal government.
However, The Sun’s management said the company is not a party to the EFCC’s case with Senator Kalu, adding that the court ruling against Kalu should not affect the newspaper company.
“We wish to reiterate that The Sun Publishing Limited is an ongoing corporate limited liability company and its shares are owned by various individuals distinct from Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu.
“Therefore, the recent judgment against Sen. Orji Uzor Kalu should not be used to disturb the operations of the company and the proprietary rights of its innocent shareholders until the matters are dispensed with at the Supreme Court,” the statement reads in part.
The company’s management, therefore, advised the AGF to advise the EFCC appropriately on the legal consequences of such action if implemented.