Journalists in Akwa Ibom State were Saturday stopped from covering a stakeholders’ meeting during a one-day visit of President Goodluck Jonathan to the state.
The President visited the state to inaugurate the new Governor’s office and perform the groundbreaking ceremony of the international stadium in Uyo, the state capital.
Reporters who had gone to the Banquet Hall, venue for the stakeholders meeting, were kept standing outside from 9 am till about 11.30am when the President arrived to meet with the stakeholders in the state.
The plea by the State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Mr. Aniekan Umanah, for journalists with accreditation for the President’s visit, to enter the hall was simply rebuffed by the men of the State Security Services (SSS) and armed mobile Police.
Praised singers, band sets, uniformed groups and market women who thronged the venue were however given free access to enter the hall.
The security details who mounted the gate had claimed that they had a list of 200 names for admission into the hall, saying provision was not provided for the journalists.
The chief press secretary to the Governor, Pastor Anietie Ukpe, was not on hand to even remedy the situation even as the chairman of the Nigerian Union Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State chapter, Mr. Joe Effiong, was embarrassed on the development.
Effiong, who frowned on the actions of the security personnel, had to call on journalists to leave the venue to avoid any unpleasant consequence as there was a threat on the application of force.
President Jonathan who had earlier inaugurated the new ultramodern Governor’s Office complex was full of praise to Governor Godswill Akpabio for the projects embarked upon in the state and his transformation agenda.
He lauded the modern facilities in the new office which include video conferencing in the executive chamber which he described as a plus to the state government.
Akpabio, who received the President, said it was a rare privilege for the President to honour and commission the project.
He said his tenure would continue to witness people-oriented project as dividends of democracy to the people.
Briefing the President on the project, the Commissioner for Housing and Urban Renewal, Mr Emmanuel Enoidem, said the new governor’s office was completed in 12 months.
Source: This Day