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Attacks On The Media In August 2000
 

Students Threaten To Burn Media Houses Vehicles

Students of the College of Education, Ikere-Ekiti, on August 8 vowed to wage war against media houses which published a story that six female students of the institution allegedly had sex with dogs for monetary reward. They threatened to burn the operational vehicles of The Punch and Sketch newspapers for publishing the news item. The story was sourced from the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

           

All the officers of the school interviewed denied the authenticity of the said report, which they said, was damaging

           

The Student Union President, Mr. Adebayo Owogbemi, threatened that they were ready for a big showdown with all the media concerned.

 

National Assembly Bans Camera At Galleries

The National Assembly on August 12 banned the use of cameras, mobile phones and the reading of newspapers and magazine at the Senate and House of Representatives galleries. The order was conveyed through a pamphlet titled “Gallery User” that was produced by the House of Representatives.

           

The noyice said conversations “that usually distract” other users during proceedings in the chambers are also forbidden. In addition, “members of the public are not allowed to clap or applaud during debates or when the House is about to reach a decision on any matter”, thee notice added.

             

The pamphlet said that admission into the galleries was a privilege accorded to members of the public to watch elected members’ proceedings. It added that the privilege does not in any way confer the right to participate, either overtly or covertly, in the proceedings of the House by visitors. This, the pamphlet said “is indeed a gross misconduct for which both the Constitution and the House provide ample sanctions.

 

Major Ordered The Assault Of Journalist

Aides of  Major  (Mrs.)  Mojisola Obasanjo (rtd), President of Masses Movement of Nigeria (MMN) during the week assaulted and seized the property of a Sunday Times reporter who had gone to interview her in order to clarify some issues. Major Obasanjo said she was incensed by perceived negative reports of her activities which she said could no longer be ignored because they were adversely affecting her business.

           

She subsequently warned pressmen to steer clear of her residence henceforth.

 

Governor Akande Directs Hate Speech At Journalists

Chief Bisi Akande, the Governor of Osun State accused journalists of being the major problems of his administration. Consequently, he made hate speeches at journalists cursing that they would all perish.

           

Speaking to representatives of Nigeria’s three political parties in Osun State on the labour crisis in the State, he claimed journalists were not friendly with his government. He said “media  men  in  the State are  the  greatest  problems my administration is facing. Anybody that wants to unravel the mystery of God will perish, so journalists in  the State would perish.”

 

The Guardian Sacks Union Officials

Messrs. Gbolahan Gbadamosi and Dickson Adeyanju, Chairman and Secretary respectively of The Gaurdian Chapel of the Nigeria Union of journalists (NUJ) were on August 18 sacked by the management of the newspaper ostensably for indulging in union activities.

           

A statement signed by them alleged that they were ordered to leave the company’s premises on the day without reason. Mr. Emeka Eluem Izeze, Managing Director of the group of newspapers had on that day evening informed the duo that the Chairman of The Guardian, Mr. Alex Ibru had ordered their sack.

           

Messrs. Gbadamosi and Adeyanju were Judicial and Religious Affairs Correspondents respectively before their sack. They led other staff of The Guardian,   under  the aegis of Amalgamated Union of Guardian Workers, a week earlier, in a peaceful demonstration to demand for improved working conditions.

           

On August 22, management alleged that a caller has informed them that some unknown persons were threatening to attack the computers, lithographic, printing press sections, power generating sets and circulation vehicles of the media organisation. They reported having called the men of the NPF to investigate the alleged planned arson attack.

           

The sacked workers were, however, reinstated after a strike action called by the workers with the support of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) forced the management of The Guardian to dialogue with the workers.

 

Journalists Locked Out Of Media Centre

Accredited Nigerian journalists who requested to use the Media Centre in Abuja to gather information and file to their stories to their various media houses left dejected on August 27 when they were locked out.  They were turned back at the gates when they reported to use the centre’s facilities following Clinton’s visit to Ushafa village near Abuja.

           

An official of the centre reportedly told the journalists that some security men came to close the center because it would be used for a business group meeting by the visiting President Bill Clinton, Nigerian business community and their American counterpart. Another official said they had to send the journalists away because the centre had to be swept and scanned by US security operatives.

           

The centre  is   equipped with modern communication gadgets like telephone, fax, Internet, computers and photocopiers, which were installed specifically for the use of journalists covering President Clinton’s visit.

           

The journalists expressed disgust at the abrupt closure saying the security operatives were just trying to make their job very difficult during the visit.
 

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