NUJ asks Akwa Ibom govt to reconsider ban on press interviews

Governor Udom Emmanuel during the swearing-in of Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem as the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, SSG.
Governor Udom Emmanuel during the swearing-in of Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem as the Secretary to the Akwa Ibom State Government, SSG.

The chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Akwa Ibom State, Patrick Albert, has appealed to the state government to reconsider its order banning commissioners and the governor’s aides from granting press interviews.

The state government had said the ban was to “ensure a coordinated approach to information management and dissemination.”

Only the commissioner for information and the chief press secretary to the governor are permitted to speak for the state government and Governor Udom Emmanuel respectively, the government said.

Any official other than these two, who wishes to speak to the press, must obtain permission from Mr Emmanuel, it said.

“My first reaction to that is that government has the right to redirect its operations but that shouldn’t be done at the expense of adequate information to the public,” Mr Albert said on Saturday in an interview with Passion 94.5 FM, Uyo.

“For the government to say that all that it has done should be reported by only two sources, I don’t think they understand fully the effect that this will have on them.

“I will advise they retreat,” Mr Albert said.

Mr Albert said “democracy is made thick by the amount of information available to the people”.

The NUJ chairman advised that the government should rather organise a retreat on information management for state officials.

“The ban shouldn’t take long. We are not in a military era, we are in a democracy. The public should enjoy adequate information,” he said.

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