The Indepepondent Natonal Electoral Commission (INEC), Delta state headquarters, has barred reporters from covering the announcement of results of the presidential election.
It was not clear why INEC gave the directive to security agencies at the gate as a female police officer has a list of invited Journalists already typed while a few is written with pen.
Our correspondent who was at INEC's Office to cover the presidential result collation was not allowed in as his name was not in the “book of life” of the commission.
Messages sent to the Public Relations Officer (PRO), of the commission, Chinwe Nwaobani, via WhatsApp was not replied.
It was also learnt that there are alleged plans for INEC to engage in lopsided selection of reporters to cover the governorship result.
But in his reaction, Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta state council, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu condemned in strong terms the Independent National Electoral Commission in the state for barring 95% of its members from covering the state collation results centre at INEC headquarters in Asaba.
Speaking with the Chairman on his mobile line, he bemoaned INEC decision to exclude those registered and accredited journalists that covered the just concluded presidential and national assembly elections in the state.
According to the chairman, “I have received numerous phone calls on how Delta journalists were blocked by security operatives and INEC Staff subjecting all journalists that came to the headquarters to cover the exercise to confirm his/her medium name on a written list. If your medium is not found on the list, you would be prevented from entry.”
This according to the NUJ Chairman, “its an act of depriving the press access to authentic information to give to the public.”
He added, ”I called the public relations officer of the commission on several occasions today but he refused to pick my calls. Though I am currently not in town but I am really worried about this ugly situation. “
He continues: ”this disenfranchisement will no doubt give room for fake news that would spread across the media space which the profession kick against.
Comrade Ikeogwu hower urged INEC to give access to all journalists that wished to cover the collation of the elections results to avoid fake news.
While appealing to members of his Union to be patients, Ikeogwu assured them that the issue at hand would be handled by the Union executive immediately without further delay.
SOURCE :The Nigerian Voice (local news)