Lagos SWAN, CGF agree on 2022 Commonwealth Games media accreditation
Lagos State Chapter of the Sports Writers Association of Nigeria (SWAN), yesterday, announced that accreditation for the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham is not hinged on possession of SWAN or International Sports Press Association (AIPS) identity cards.
The association also revealed that only genuine journalists, who must be working for credible media organisations, are eligible for the Games’ accreditation.
Speaking on an alleged attempt by unscrupulous individuals to hijack the accreditation process, Lagos SWAN Chairman, Debo Oshundun, in a statement signed by the association’s Secretary, Bunmi Ogunyale, said: “The battle to ensure our members are not denied the opportunity to cover the Games was won three weeks ago when the Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) granted our prayers.”
He revealed that the agreement with CGF empowers heads of sports desks of reputable media houses to nominate their reporters and cameramen interested in travelling to Birmingham for on-site reportage.
“Various media organisations should hand their nominee/reporter letters to the NOC. We expect the NOC to expedite action and retract from its initial insistence on SWAN and AIPS identity cards before accreditation tags are processed,” he added.
Oshundun also condemned the activities of operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS), who invaded Lagos SWAN secretariat on Friday.
Oshundun urged the DSS to call its men to order, saying the para-military body should not be seen as a gun for hire agency, which could be hired by anybody intent on mischief to harass innocent citizens.
DSS officials invaded the Lagos SWAN Secretariat without any court injunction or summon, sealed the building and drove all genuine journalists around the premises away.
Narrating the assault on journalists on Friday, Oshundun said: “DSS operatives stormed our secretariat in three Hilux vehicles at about 10:00 am with the sole aim of sealing the building.
“Shortly before sealing off the premises, the operatives ensured that a caretaker committee was inaugurated to take charge of the affairs of the association despite the existence of duly-elected executive members inaugurated by Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ).
“After sealing off the Lagos SWAN secretariat inside the National Stadium, the DSS operatives moved to Teslim Balogun Stadium with a towing vehicle to remove the Lagos SWAN bus given to us by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
“They said they were acting on the instructions of Honour Sirawoo, the factional president of SWAN, who is the current permanent secretary at the Rivers State Ministry of Youth and Sports. Sirawoo instructed the DSS to bring the bus to Port Harcourt.
“It took the intervention of the chairman and Director General of the Lagos State Sports Commission to ensure that the bus was not taken away by the DSS operatives.”