By: Abdullahi Faruk, Birnin Kebbi
Journalists in Kebbi have been prevented from covering the distribution of sensitive materials for forthcoming gubernatorial and state assembly elections to 21 Local Government Areas of the state.
Our correspondent reports that Journalists were officially invited by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in the state, via a letter signed by Administrative Secretary, Muhammad Ahmad Ushama to report at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) office in Birnin Kebbi on Wednesday to ensure transparency.
Men of the pen started arriving at the CBN, Kebbi branch office as early as 8:30 to 9:00a.m. but kept on the reception waiting for more than three to four hours without anybody to attend to them.
Disturbed by the scenario, the Deputy Director, Voter Education and Publicity, Muhammad Rabi’u arrived at the scene at about 12:20p.m. and pleaded with the internal security men on duty in the said CBN to allow members of the press into the distribution area but the security men insisted that they had not receive order from above.
All efforts by the deputy director to convince the security men on duty proved abortive, as they replied that they were waiting for an order from above.
The journalists were left with no option than to vamoose and carry on with their daily activities.
Reacting on the development, the Vice Chairman of Correspondents’ Chapel of NUJ in the state, Alhaji Umar Faruq expressed dismay over the unfolding scenarios, recalling that similar episode happened in 2019, where the CBN barred journalists from gaining access to the distribution point.
“We are not here on our own, we were invited to come and cover the distribution exercise of the sensitive matarials for transparency and fairness and we deem it as our constitutional responsibility to report to the general public on the happening of the exercise.
“I don’t know why they denied us access to the distribution point, this will give room for suspecion and assumption of foul play, especially from political parties,” he wondered.