By Boluwaji Obahopo
Lokoja—For the second day running, Kogi State House of Assembly, yesterday, locked out journalists from the chambers, preventing them from covering its proceedings.
Members of the correspondents’ chapel, who were in the Assembly, Wednesday, to witness the sitting, were sent back by security operatives deployed to the entrance of the chambers.
Similarly, yesterday, newsmen who had gone to the Assembly to witness the presentation of the Head of Service, Commissioner of Finance, Accountant-General and Chairman, State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, who were summoned over the protracted staff verification in the state and how the executive expended the bailout and Paris Club refund monies, were disallowed from entering the chamber.
The security operative, who held the key to the entrance of the gallery, said he cannot open the door as the Speaker, Matthew Kolawole, had directed that nobody should enter, and all efforts and plea to make the officer see reason to allow journalists in were strongly rebuffed as he said he was acting on “order from above.”
While the arguments at the entrance lasted, a staff of the Assembly pleaded with the journalists and offered to meet with the Sergeant-at-Arms who insisted that the Speaker’s order was that nobody should be allowed inside during the sitting.
Chief Press Secretary, CPS, to the Speaker, Femi Olugbemi, could not be reached for his intervention as calls put through his mobile phone were not answered.
Political analysts in the state had, last week, lambasted the House, averring that the former Speaker, Umar Imam, was arm-twisted to resign for calling on the executive arm to appear before the House, saying they do not trust the leadership of the current Speaker.
When, on Tuesday, the House summoned the executive members, the political pundits said it was just a ‘cosmetic’ arrangement by the present leadership, which outcome will not be made public.
The hoodlums’ invasion
It will be recalled that hoodlums had free access to the Assembly, without check, about three weeks ago, when they invaded the complex, prior to the change of leadership in the Assembly.
On the same day, the crew of Silverbird Television was chased out by the lawmakers, following the observation raised by the then Deputy Majority Leader, Hassan Abdullahi, from Ajaokuta State constituency.