An aide to Borno State Governor, Prof. Babagana Zulum, has been accused of undermining press freedom in the state.
Members of the Borno State Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Tuesday raised the alarm over continued attempts by one of the governor’s aides, to undermine the workings of the media.
A statement by the Chairman of the Chapel, Alhaji Haruna Dauda-Biu, said the antics of the media aide, Baba-Sheikh Haruna, could no longer be tolerated as it was impugning on press freedom and making their job as journalists difficult.
Dauda-Biu said more disheartening was the fact that the aide rode to the office as the Chairman of the Borno State Chapter of the NUJ and should know better what press freedom is all about and the importance of media correspondents in publicizing the activities of his principal and acting as the watchdog.
According to the statement: “It is disheartening to observe that in recent times there seems to be a deliberate attempt by the officer to prevent members of the Correspondents’ chapel ,who represent various national and international media outfits from doing their jobs.
“The Senior Special Assistant on Media, Baba-Sheikh Haruna who recently assumed the supervisory role of the Governor’s media affairs has continued to engage in an unprofessional conduct by refusing to invite or inform journalists of important public engagements or functions of the Governor in the state.
“This singular act negates the provision of section 22 of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended which empowers the press to function freely without any form of hindrance.”
The statement added that: “The Correspondents’ Chapel wishes to remind the SSA Media that good governance and accountability, which his principal, His Excellency Governor Babagana Zulum stands for, can only be achieved when the media is allowed to cover and report the activities of government for effective checks and balances.”
It was alleged in the statement that:” The Chapel has on several occasions tried to draw Mr Baba-Sheikh Haruna’s attention to this unbecoming attitude but to no avail.”
The statement, however, warned that:” To this end, therefore, the Chapel will no longer condone any attempt by Mr Baba-Sheikh Haruna or those he delegates to undermine press freedom in Borno state.”