COVID-19: Presidency Has No Justification Barring Media Houses From Villa ― PDP
By Henry Odeh
• Insists it offends the statutes on free press
Leading opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said the presidency has no justification whatsoever to shut media organisations out from covering activities of the presidency.
The national publicity secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Kola Ologbodiyan in a statement made available to Nigerian Tribune condemned in its entirety what it described as the unjustified barring of some media houses from covering activities of the Presidency, describing the development as a most heinous form of official victimisation executed in bad faith.
According to the party: “The party described the media ban by the Buhari Presidency as highly detestable, undemocratic and totally against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Freedom of Information (FoI) Act as well as the tenets and guiding principles of rule of law.”
The party noted that the Presidency had no justification for its action and could therefore not give any cogent reason to necessitate the ban.
Ologbodiyan in the statement said the PDP, therefore, cautioned the Buhari Presidency to note that the nation, and indeed, the world is currently distressed as we battle the deadly COVID-19.
This is therefore not the time for unnecessary pettiness, victimisation and barring of media houses, a development which has sparked off suspicion in the public space as being designed to conceal certain facts from the public.
It is indeed instructive for the Buhari Presidency to note that our nation is in dire need of hope and direction contained in timely information, especially from the government.
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“Consequently, clamping down on the media, which is a critical stakeholder in this important effort to defeat COVID-19 is completely at variance with our national interest.
“What our nation needs now is for all hands to be on the deck, with those in power shelving their pettiness, parochial interests, pointless and unreasonable ego as we collectively seek for solutions.
“The PDP, therefore, charges the Presidency to immediately and without any further delay lift the ban on the affected media houses and allow them to discharge their responsibility to the Nigerian people, in line with the provisions of the law and their professional requirements.
“Moreover, the PDP frowned at Federal Government for cancelling its Tuesday’s media briefing on the COVID-19, thereby denying Nigerians of very vital information in the process. The party urged the Federal Government to exert itself and seek more concerted effort in the fight against the pandemic.