The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari disregarded freedom of the press in Benue on Monday as correspondents of The PUNCH, ThisDay, Vanguard, Tribune, New Telegraph, The Nation and others were barred from covering the President’s visit.
About 30 correspondents from various media organisations are in the state, but only seven handpicked media organisations were allowed to cover the President’s visit.
Our correspondent, who had gone to the Benue State Government House in the early hours of the day, was told that his organisation was not among those allowed to cover the visit.
Checks revealed that there was a directive from the Presidency to restrict the number of media organisations to cover the visit to seven.
The media allowed to cover the visit are The News Agency of Nigeria, Daily Sun, Voice of Nigeria, Daily Trust, Leadership, The Guardian and Daily Independent.
No reason was given for the decision.
Apart from journalists, invited stakeholders were turned back at the third gate of the Government House where security, mainly operatives of the Department of State Services, checked the names of guests against a list they clutched jealously.
Some protesting youths, who had stormed the venue to register their grievances over incessant killings in the state, were sent away by security men, while their placards were seized.