Lawmaker bars journalists from covering COVID-19 probe
A member of the House of Representatives from Oyo state, Adedeji Stanley Olajide, Friday barred journalists from covering a public hearing aimed at probing into medical research in the fight against COVID-19 and other diseases in Nigeria.
The hearing was attended by the minister of health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, minister of state for health, Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, the director-general of NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu and other heads of agencies and parastatals in the ministry of health.
The lawmaker who represents Ibadan Southwest/Northwest federal constituency threw caution to the wind after a member of the ad hoc committee conducting the hearing observed that the meeting room was becoming crowded and sought the directive of the chairman of the committee, Hon. Haruna Mshelia (APC, Borno) to control the influx of people into the hearing room.
Mshelia instructed that no one should be allowed into the hall again so that social distancing could be maintained.
“Please, we have the minister of health with us here and we have to adhere strictly to the PTF social distancing recommendations. So, Sergeant at arms, please, open the doors but don’t allow any more people to come in,” Mshelia said.
“Let’s just maintain the number we have in the hall. Hon. Colleague, your observation is sustained.”
But instead of preventing more people from entering the hall, Olajide arrogated to himself the functions of a security man and asked journalists out of the hearing room.
Olajide ordered the sergeant at arms to drag out any guest or journalists who dare to question his unparliamentary and hostile behaviour towards them.
His actions led to a protest by the journalists at the venue, who then walked out of the venue of the public hearing.
However, a member of the ad-hoc committee, Aniekan Umannah, intervened and pleaded with the journalists to continue with the coverage of the investigation. Most of the journalists refused to return to the hall.
It is on record that Olajide, a first-time lawmaker in the House has never sponsored any bill in the last one year, neither has he sponsored a single motion on the floor of the House.