Over 80 journalists ‘barred’ from Aso Rock

March 25, 2020

The number of State House correspondents was yesterday
pruned to 16 over the coronavirus pandemic. Only one of them is a newspaper
reporter. The number was out of the over100 journalists accredited to cover
activities of the Presidency.

Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a circular
yesterday listed the correspondents to enter the Villa for media coverage of
any event beginning from today until further notice as the Covid-19 incidence
would dictate as including: “Chairman, State House Press Corps – for
coordination;  NTA crew; Channels TV
crew; TVC crew; FRCN reporter; VON reporter; NAN reporter; The Sun reporter;
ThisDay photographer; Leadership photographer; Daily Trust photographer;
Guardian photographer; and Vanguard photographer.”

Adesina advised those not represented in the list of
selected journalists to liaise with those listed for necessary information as
well as the information officers in the President’s Media Office.

He pleaded for understanding and cooperation as the security
department enforced the restriction measure during what he called “trying

The circular read: “In view of the current restriction in
the Federal Capital Territory against gathering of not more than 50 persons at
the same time at any venue, as well as to be able to maintain social distancing
following the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, it has become imperative to
drastically review down the presence of the over 100 State House correspondents
who usually rendezvous in the Press Briefing Room in the Presidential Villa
during this period since all other departments have scaled down the presence of
their staff.”

The Chief of Staff to the President and three of his aides
had reportedly tested positive to coronavirus. President Muhammadu was said to
have tested negative.

Meanwhile, members of the Presidential Task Force on
Coronavirus were sighted at State House in Abuja yesterday. President Buhari
yesterday met with Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State. The president later
met with the security chiefs.

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