The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has assured the safety of journalists in their coverage of COVID-19 pandemic.
By Femi Ogunshola
The Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says
Federal Government is committed to ensure safety of journalists in their coverage of COVID-19 pandemic.
Mohammed spoke at the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 press briefing on Thursday in Abuja, saying journalists are like frontline health workers, also on essential duty and must be protected.
The minister’s comment was coming against the backdrop of the purported harassment of some journalists in Lagos by the police.
According to him, I spoke with the Commissioner of Police in Lagos yesterday on the alleged harassment of some journalists on duty by the police.
“And, based on our conversation, he recognised that journalists are on essential duty and everything possible will be done to support and protect them in the course of their duties,” he said.
The minister said the Commissioner of Police assured him that he had intervened in the alleged harassment and had provided safety for journalists in the Channels Television, the Nations Newspaper, among others.
Mohammed said the commissioner of police had also informed his men to desist from harassing journalists in line of their duties, stressing that any policeman found culpable would be sanctioned.
The minister quoted the police chief as saying, “should my men continue to harass journalists in the course of their duties, they will be subjected to departmental protocol”.
In his contributions, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that a new batch of Nigerians willing to come back home would arrive on Friday from the United Kingdom.
Onyeama said they would first be taken to Lagos and immediately ferried to Abuja where they would be isolated for 14 days over COVID-19.
He said that the best hotel had been secured for the returnees.
Onyeama expressed happiness that the Federal Government had been able to get the first batch of returnees who came in on Wednesday from the United Arab Emirate.
He said they had conducted themselves well, adding though, the conditions were difficult, the returnees need to pay the sacrifice and abide by all the protocols guiding their isolation. (NAN)