A major controversy is brewing between the Nigerian Army and Premium Times Services Limited, publishers of PREMIUM TIMES, over damning reports the latter published on its platform against the Chief of Army Staff, Tukur Buratai.
PREMIUM TIMES had reported in October 2016, that Mr. Buratai was to appear before the Code of Conduct Bureau over false declaration of a Dubai property. It also revealed how the Nigerian Army allegedly killed a kidnapped pastor, labeling him a kidnapper.
But in a letter dated December 22, 2016, and signed by major general I.M Alkali, on behalf of Mr. Buratai, the Army deemed the report “false,” “unsubstantiated,” and “unprofessional.”
The Army further asked PREMIUM TIMES to tender an apology letter for the publications in three national dailies or face legal actions.
“Despite the fact that your unprofessional publications are injurious to the personality of the leadership of the Nigerian Army and the Nigeria Army as a whole, it may interest you to know that your attempts have failed woefully to malign and impugn the hard-earned character of the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army,” the letter said.
“Your retraction should be done in at least 3 national dailies and in online newspapers for 3 days consecutively from 29-31 December 2016.
“You are to also publish an apology to the Chief of Army Staff and the Nigerian Army in 3 Nigeria newspaper and online publications.
“Failure to retract and withdraw the said publications by Premium Times Services Limited on or before 31 December, 2016, the Nigerian Army team of lawyers will be instructed to proceed against you in court.”
But the Abuja based media company, in reaction to the letter, maintained that the reports were true, adding that it was ready to meet the Army in court.
“All I can say at this point is that we stand by our stories,” PREMIUM TIMES Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, said on Wednesday.
“We have passed the letter to our lawyers for appropriate response. I can assure you they (the Army) will get an appropriate response before long,” he added.
THE WHISTLER however recalls that Mr. Buratai, during the 2016 Nigerian Army Day Celebration (NADCEL), claimed that those behind his alleged acquisition of N130 million properties in Dubai were defeated members of the Boko Haram sect.