The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Wednesday, said the banning of some media houses from covering activities in the Presidential Villa was unjustified.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, had in a statement on Tuesday barred AIT, Arise TV, STV, Ben TV among others from covering activities in the villa.
Also barred were reporters from The PUNCH, ThisDay, Tribune, The Guardian, Vanguard, Daily Trust and other major newspapers, while few of them were allowed to send in their photographers.
He, however, noted that Channels TV, NTA, TVC, News Agency of Nigeria, Sun Newspaper, Voice of Nigeria, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, and photographers of ThisDay, The Guardian, Leadership, Vanguard and Daily Trust, are permitted to cover the Villa for a yet-to-be specified period.
Meanwhile, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, in a statement, dismissed Adesina’s explanations.
According to him, this decision by the Buhari regime is highly detestable, undemocratic and totally against the provisions of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), the Freedom of Information Act, as well as the tenets and guiding principles of rule of law.
Ologbondiyan stated: “This is therefore not the time for unnecessary pettiness, victimisation and barring of media houses, a development which has sparked suspicion in the public space as being designed to conceal certain facts from the public.
“It is indeed instructive for the Buhari Presidency to note that our nation is in dire need of hope and direction contained in timely information, especially from the government.”
Ologbondiyan further said: “What our nation needs now is for all hands on deck, with those in power shelving their pettiness, parochial interests, pointless and unreasonable ego as we collectively seek for solutions.
“The PDP, therefore, charges the Presidency to, immediately and without any further delay, lift the ban on the affected media houses and allow them to discharge their responsibility to the Nigerian people, in line with the provisions of the law and their professional requirements.
“Moreover, the PDP frowns on the Federal Government cancelling its Tuesday media briefing on the COVID-19, thereby denying Nigerians very vital information in the process. The party urges the Federal Government to exert itself and seek more concerted efforts in the fight against the pandemic.”
Recall that the presidency had stated that the move to ban AIT and other media outlets from the Villa came as part of measures to curb the spread of Coronavirus which has crippled economic activities all over the world.