House of Representatives Committee Bars Journalists from Covering Sitting

Mr. Edem Bassey, Clerk of House Ad Hoc Committee

On September 5, 2023, the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the utilisation of ecological funds released to the National Agency for Great Green Wall (NAGGW), barred journalists from covering its sitting.

Reports say the panel probing the utilisation of ecological funds had on August 31, 2023, accused NAGGW of spending N81.2 billion to plant 21 million trees in 11 states of the federation.

During the hearing, the Clerk of the committee, Mr. Edem Bassey instructed journalists who turned up to cover the hearing to leave the hall saying the committee chairman had directed that the investigative hearing was not for media coverage.

Edem told the journalists: “The first sitting you covered, I wrote a letter to you, and to the best of my knowledge, this committee did not write a letter asking for another coverage. So that addresses the issue.”

“You know how we work in this place, I am supposed to either communicate to you or the chairman, what has not been done and why it is not done, I was not briefed to do so.” He said the committee has the right to regulate its sitting just as the House does, adding that “for now, we do not need media coverage.”

When Edem was informed that the Speaker, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas had, during his inaugural address assured Nigerians that the 10th House would ensure an open parliament, he said: “I am glad you have mentioned the Speaker’s agenda. We do not need media coverage. If there is a need, we can also do.”

“Already, my chairman had told me we do not want the media, and you know how this place is, it will look somehow.” He added.