President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has been called upon to immediately reverse the alleged unlawful ban on 25 journalists and media houses from covering the presidential villa and restore the accreditations of those affected.
The call came from a Lagos-based rights group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP), through a statement issued by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, who also charged the president to publicly instruct the officials in the presidential villa to allow journalists and media houses to freely do their job and discharge their constitutional duty of holding those in power to account.
Recall that the Federal Government of Nigeria (FGN) recently withdrew the accreditations of some 25 journalists from covering activities at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The banned journalists include those from the Vanguard; Galaxy TV; Ben TV; MITV; ITV Abuja; PromptNews; ONTV, and Liberty.
Referencing its letter dated August 26, 2023, SERAP insisted that, “Barring these journalists and media houses from covering the presidential villa is to prevent them from carrying out their legitimate constitutional responsibility.
“Your administration cannot, with one broad stroke, ban journalists from covering public functions. Citizens’ access to information and participation would mean little if journalists and media houses are denied access to the seat of government”.
While adding that media freedom is a cornerstone of Nigeria’s democracy and journalists must be able to hold the government to account, the group posited that the government cannot cherry-pick journalists to cover its activities.