The Nigeria Union of Journalists, FCT Council, has urged members of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 that were at the burial rites of Mallam Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, to excuse themselves from the daily briefing.
In a statement on Monday in Abuja, Chairman of the Council, Emmanuel Ogbeche, called on the members of the PTF which includes the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and National Coordinator, Mr. Boss Mustapha, to demonstrate dignified responsibility by not putting journalists and others who attend the briefing in harm’s way by not attending.
“Following the protocol already established by the PTF and the Presidency in asking all those who attended the funeral rites for the late Mallam Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to the President, the NUJ urges in particular, members of the PTF who were at the Defence House and Gudu cemetery, to respectfully not attend the daily COVID-19 briefing until after the 14 days isolation,” the statement read.
Ogbeche said anything other than this will further cast doubt on the integrity of the PTF, and put the little gains already achieved in jeopardy.
The FCT NUJ Chair advised journalists at the briefing to protest and possibly stage a walk out if any of the members that were at any of the rites show up.
He charged journalists to be responsible for their safety by wearing appropriate PPEs and not become the news in their search for news.
According to him, the Council was still calling on media organisations to provide PPEs and hazard allowance to those covering the COVID-19 crisis, insisting that the Union will declare industrial dispute with all organisations that fail in this regard after the COVID-19 lockdown.