The Clerk to the Senate Committee on Special Duties, Kabir Yaba Umar, yesterday evening hunted person journalists out of the budget defense session the committee had with the management of the North East Development Commission and the National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and IDPs.
Umar had earlier in the morning extended the invitation to the Senate press corps to cover the Committee’s budget defense session with the 2 Commissions at Senate Committee room 211 by 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. respectively.
The Dismissal of the journalist out of the budget defense is very unfair
Reporters from various media organizations got to the venue on schedule and started taking notes before Umar walked up to the reporters and ordered them to go away within the full glare of the Committee Chairman, legislator Yusuf Yusuf, and other members of the panel.
Members of the Committee who did not contest the Clerk’s order embrace former Senate Leader, Ali Ndume; immediate past governor of Borno State, Kashim Shettima; and former governor of Yobe State, Ibrahim Geidam and the legislator representing Adamawa North, Elisha Abbo. Umar said he was performing on the directive of the Committee chairman to stop journalists from media organizations except for the NTA and the broadcasting unit of the National Assembly, from covering the event.
The Clerk asked the reporters to put in writing whatever they like because he had the right to determine who ought to be allowed into the budget defense session or otherwise.
His words: “I have already told your colleagues who had been here before you that you guys are not needed here. I have the directive of the Chairman to do what I’m doing.”
The Committee tells Nigeria how they hope to tackle humanitarian crises in the country.
Asked if he was aware that his action might be reported in the media, Umar said, “Go ahead, I don’t care what you write.”
The board and management of NEDC and the refugee Commission appeared before the Committee to tell Nigerians how they hope to tackle the worsening humanitarian crises and aggravated malnutrition in the insurgency ravaged Northeastern part of the country.
Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, had on Monday emphasized that Senate committees were not organizing secret budget defense sessions with ministries, departments, and agencies of government (MDAs).
According to him, it was share misrepresentation of reality to mention that journalists weren’t allowed to cover the budget defense sessions occurring at the National Assembly.
Lawan, who was reacting to media reports revealed that the media were shut out of the coverage of the budget defense at the various Senate committees, said: “there is no shut out of the press from what we tend to do, the press should not be left out because they need more information to pass across to the public.
The Senate President made a statement to his Media we should inform the Journalist they must be carried along.
The Senate President in a statement by his Media adviser, ola Awoniyi other that “we need the press to inform Nigerians what we are doing. You (journalists) are our friends. That was a misunderstanding (of what happened),” Lawan same.
He further expressed “I want to assure Nigerians that whatever we do in this Senate and so in this National Assembly is in the best interest of Nigeria. we’ll not compromise on anything as far as the national interest is concerned.”
The Senate standing order 2015, as amended states in chapter 8(102) on rules of procedure for committees in general that:
“Each hearing inducted by every committee or sub-committee thereof shall be open to the public except once the committee or subcommittee in open session and with a majority present, determines, by roll call shall vote that all or a part of the remainder of that hearing on that day shall be closed to the public because disclosure of testimony, evidence or other matters to be considered would endanger national security or would violate any law or rule of the Senate.