THE Presidency has reacted to the barring of almost twenty-five journalists from covering activities at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
In a chat with The ICIR on Thursday, August 24, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said the move was an internal attempt to reduce overcrowding across all departments of the State House.
He added that the reduction did not affect only the media department.
“This is an internal effort to reduce overcrowding across all departments of the State House, not only the Media department.
“The number of print photographers was bloated and reduced to ensure the efficient use of more than six remaining photographers, which does not include dozens of videographers still present, due to security concerns raised by State House officials and visiting dignitaries concerning the overcrowding of the press gallery area that blocks the walking path to the President’s Office,” Ngelale stated.
According to Ngelale, initial notice of the cutdown was made known to the entire Press Corps well ahead of time.
He added that 62 other Press corps members remain, including all major print, online, and electronic media houses.
There were reports over the weekend that President Bola Tinubu ordered the withdrawal of the accreditations of 25 journalists covering the Villa.
Findings by The ICIR indicate that security operatives stationed at the main gate of the Villa on Friday, August 18, told the affected journalists to submit their accreditation tags.
Further findings show no reason for withdrawing the journalists’ accreditations was given.
In a chat with The ICIR, one of the journalists covering the Villa who chose to remain anonymous confirmed the incident.
According to the source, the media personnel affected by the withdrawal were mainly online journalists and cameramen.
He confirmed that the press gallery at the state house is bloated, hence the need to reduce the numbers.
“Yes, I can confirm that about 25 journalists were stopped from covering the Villa.
“Most of those affected are from online media houses and cameramen. Most of the camera operators still have their reporters there.
“We have over 100 journalists covering the Villa and most of them do not represent any credible media house. Most mainstream media houses were not affected. We still have a large number there,” our source stated.
He confirmed that the incident happened on Friday.
According to reports, the affected journalists include reporters, cameramen, and photographers from various broadcast, print, and online media outlets.
The affected media outlets have been asked to rely on their colleagues for video clips and other news content.
While resuming as the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Ngelale promised to uphold a free exchange of information between the Presidential Villa and members of the press.
Ngelale gave the pledge on Tuesday, August 1, while speaking to the State House Press Corps members in Abuja.
Ngelale, appointed by President Tinubu in August, made a commitment to be more accessible than ever before in terms of granting information to radio networks, television networks, newspapers, and online news media.