Bayelsa govt bans NAN for reporting Commissioner’s slump


Bayelsa Government has barred the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) from the coverage of activities marking the 6th anniversary of Gov. Seriake Dickson in office.

The incident is sequel a NAN report on build up activities to the 6th anniversary scheduled to climax on Feb. 14.

The Commissioner for Special Projects, Mr Fred Obua, had slumped on Jan. 30 at the Inter-ministerial briefing component of the ceremonies at the Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre.

Mr Daniel Iworiso-Markson, Commissioner for Information, who was also at the occasion, had threatened that any journalist who reported the incident would be “sanctioned and dealt with”.

Some media aides to the Information Commissioner told NAN correspondents that they were instructed to exclude the agency from subsequent Bayelsa Government activities over the report which found its way into some national dailies.

Two NAN Correspondents deployed to cover a news conference on Friday night were denied access to the Government House venue of the event.

NAN had earlier on Friday been enlisted among the media outfits expected at the event but later removed by aides to the Commissioner who claimed to be acting on instructions.
According to one of the security operatives at the gate, “we will not allow you guys to go inside because NAN is not in this list for the programme.

“You people have to leave here immediately or face the consequences; this is the list we have and that is the only one”.

Coincidentally, the Commissioner for Information drove to the Government House gate at that moment and was approached by the Correspondents who were at the verge of being thrown out by the security operatives.

“You people should go and check your names on the list with the security men, they are the ones to clear,” Iworiso-Markson said.

Efforts to speak with the commissioner were futile as he declined to take several calls to his mobile phone; he also did not respond to a text message on the incident seeking his comments.

Mr Francis Agbo, Chief Press Secretary, in a text message, said that the incident “cannot be true”.

Agbo said the event was handled by the Information Commissioner, who will be in a better position to comment.



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