Journalists who attended an event at the headquarters of the Kano Electricity Distribution Company [KEDCO] in Kano on Wednesday felt deeply embarrassed when the visiting Chairman of the Senate Committee on Power, Gbenga Obadara, raised a false alarm that his telephone set was missing and that reporters might have stolen it.
Once Mr. Obadara made the claim, officials of KEDCO quickly locked up the venue of the event and ordered that all journalists at the event should be thoroughly searched.
Police officers were asked to block the entrance to the hall to prevent any reporter from leaving even while officials of KEDCO and some officials who accompanied Senator Obadara to the event were allowed to go free without being searched.
At a point, more fully armed police officers were brought in to join in frisking the journalists.
At the height of the embarrassing situation, somebody knocked on the door of the hall and announced that the senator, who was now outside the hall, had recovered his phone.
The announcement angered the journalists and embarrassed the management of the company who apologised profusely to the reporters.
The company’s Principal Manager, Corporate Communications, Mutari Usman, said the journalists should overlook the incident and continue to see KEDCO as partners in progress.
The senator did not personally apologise to the journalists.
But the Chairman of the Kano Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Edwin Olofu, rejected KEDCO’s apology and directed his members to commence an immediate boycott of the company’s activities.
He said journalists in Kano would not report the company’s activities for three months unless they receive a formal unreserved apology.
“This is very embarrassing! How can a Senator of the Federal Republic belittle himself by raising a devastating false alarm like this,” Mr. Olofu fumed. “It is a slap on our face.”