Kogi Speaker Bars Journalists From Covering Assembly

Abiodun Focus

 

Journalists covering the Kogi State House of Assembly were stunned, on Thursday, when they were barred from entering into the Assembly complex by stern-looking security men.

The security agents even threatened to shoot anyone who contravened the order which they claimed was given to them by the new Speaker, Hon. Mathew Kolawole.

At Thursday’s plenary, the main entrance leading to the press gallery was under locks, while cameramen, who arrived earlier to mount their cameras, were ordered out.

When pressmen confronted one of the senior police officers at the complex on why they were barred from gaining entry into the complex, he disclosed that the directive was from the Speaker, who he quoted as saying journalists were no longer important to the Assembly.

The police source also said that the Speaker threatened them with uery should they allow journalists into the complex.

The Assembly had invited the Head of Service, Mrs. Hannah Kehinde Lawal, State Accountant General, Mallam Momoh Jubril, Chairman State Universal Basic Education Board, Mrs. Debora Oshatimehen, and the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Idris Asiru, to appear before it, on Thursday, to explain why workers and pensioners were yet to be paid for the past 20 months.

It could be recalled that, on Wednesday, the same Speaker ordered the security agents not to allow any journalists to cover the proceeding of the House.

Efforts by a senior official of the Assembly to intervene on the issue was abortive as the security agents rebuffed every move he made.

Also series of calls put across to the Chief Press Secretary to the Speaker, Femi Olugbemi,   through his mobile phone were not answered.

The crises-ridden Assembly was, few weeks ago, invaded by hoodlums  who beat a lawmaker, Friday Sanni, black and blue, before the former Speaker of the House, Umar Imam, resigned in a controversial circumstance which paved way for the new Speaker.

On the same day, the crew of Silverbird Television who was in the Assembly to cover the proceeding was chased away while the Correspondent of Daily Times, Mr. Ahmed Nasarawa was also manhandled.

 

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