Umahi denies as NUJ reports walkout to Tinubu — Nigeria — The Guardian Nigeria News – Nigeria and World News

Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Federal Capital Territory Council, has called on President Bola Tinubu to caution the Minister of Works and Housing, David Umahi, over his walkout on journalists.

The call is contained in a statement jointly signed by the Chairman and Secretary of Council, Osadebamwen Osaretin, and Ochiaka Ugwu, yesterday in Abuja.

According to the union officials, the council is appalled by the outright disregard for members of the fourth estate of the realm by Umahi.

The statement reads: “The description of over 40 journalists present for an assignment, as “journalists are not present” was very condescending to a news conference he had invited the media through the ministry’s Assistant Director Press, Mr Clement Ezeorah.

“For the avoidance of doubt, over 40 media correspondents were present for the news conference for which the ministry’s invitation had been scheduled for 2.00 p.m. and for which the minister came at 2.48 p.m.

“The correspondents, who were present include those from The Punch, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Nigerian Tribune, The Vanguard, Leadership, Daily Independent, People’s Daily, Armed Forces Radio, NTA, Arise Television, TVC, among others.

“Describing these and others as ‘media not present’ leaves much to be desired. The council urges President Bola Tinubu to call the minister to order as well as direct all his appointees to demonstrate the highest civility and courtesy to journalists and the media in general.”

They added that, if not, the media would be persuaded to boycott his activities.

According to them, treating members of the media with such condescension is unbecoming of a minister appointed to serve and not be an emperor.

“The last time was him trying to shout down the Arise TV correspondent, Laila Johnson-Salami.

“It should be noted that the media has a constitutional role to hold the government and its officials accountable to the Nigerian people. And, therefore, no amount of intemperance from any government official will erode this sacred duty,” they stressed.

Meanwhile, Umahi, yesterday, denied walking out on journalists.
The minister, reacting to reports that he snubbed journalists, who had gathered for a briefing, noted that he was rushing to catch his flight and had to reschedule the meeting.

The former governor of Ebonyi State stated this in a chat with journalists in Abakaliki, the capital of the state, saying that he could not do without the media.

He further explained that he was the one, who called for the meeting to appreciate the media for their support.

He, therefore, stressed that there was no way he would have walked out on the media, whom he invited for interaction.

He said: “Why would I walk out on journalists I invited? We scheduled to meet by 2 p.m. and by 2 p.m. they were not ready. So, it was shifted to 3 p.m. and they were not ready by then. So, I shifted it to Monday next week.

“I had a flight by 3 p.m. to be in Abakaliki so that I will be part of the one-year anniversary of my governor; so I shifted the meeting.

“The media have done well for me in reporting the activities of my ministry and Mr President; I can’t do without the media, they are my friends and I appreciate their support towards my ministry.”

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