By Haruna Salami
The Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, has called on members of the Presidential Task Force, PTF, on Covid-19, that were at the funeral of late Mallam Abba Kyari, former Chief of Staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, to excuse themselves from the daily press briefing.
In a statement on Monday in Abuja, Chairman of the of the Council, Comrade Emmanuel Ogbeche called on all members of the task force, to “demonstrate dignified responsibility” by not putting journalists and others who attend the briefing, in harm’s way by staying away from the briefing.
“Following the protocol already established by the PTF and the Presidency in asking all those who attended the funeral rites of the late Mallam Abba Kyari, 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 of isolation,” the statement read.
Ogbeche said anything short of this would further cast doubt on the integrity of the PTF, and put the little gains already achieved in jeopardy.
The council chairman advised journalists at the briefing to protest and possibly “stage a walk out if any of the members that was at any of the rites shows 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 allowances 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.