Lagos defends ban on officials from granting press interviews

Lagos Governor, Babatunde Fashola

The ban has been criticised by civil society groups.

The Lagos State Government on Tuesday defended the ban on its officials not to grant spontaneous press interviews, saying the ban did not mean it was running a secret government.

The Lagos State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Aderemi Ibirogba, made the clarification on Tuesday, in Ikeja, at a news conference organised to mark Gov. Raji Fashola’s sixth year in office.

Mr. Ibirogba explained that the government had nothing to hide, adding that the measure was to ensure proper structuring of the government’s information flow.

The measure, which also restricts commissioners from granting on-the-spot interviews, had attracted criticisms from civil society groups.

One of the groups, Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, argued that it undermined freedom of information.

According to Mr. Ibirogba, the Fashola administration has nothing to hide by barring officials from granting spontaneous interviews.

“In fact, the government has always ensured government information is accessible to everyone; what we have done is to ensure that people access the information at the right source.

“We don`t want a situation where somebody, who might not even be a civil servant, grants interviews to journalists on government’s plans and programmes.

“In order that the public gets accurate information at all times, journalists demanding interviews should come directly to the Ministry of Information for whatever they want to find out,” he said.

He said, however, that the ban did not preclude commissioners and other senior government officials from speaking with the press because they had other platforms to brief the press.

Mr. Ibirogba said that the ministry had invigorated all the agencies and organisations under it to ensure effective management of government information.



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