On August 3, 2020, the Akwa Ibom State Government barred journalists from covering the swearing-in of new members of the State Executive Council, and the inauguration of the newly elected executives of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), ostensibly over fears of spreading COVID-19.
Journalists who attempted to attend the events slated for 12 noon and 3 pm on were barred from the venue of the events.
The Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) expressed dismay at the development, describing it as hypocrisy for government to allow party loyalists, well-wishers and members of interest groups to attend the two events but exempt journalists from performing their duties.
Comrade IdongesitAshameri, Chairman of Correspondents Chapel, said preventing correspondents of national media and other journalists from covering activities at the Government House was stigmatization and a slight on the watchdog role of the media in the country.
Idongesit stated that journalists fall, victims of COVID-19, because they get exposed and infected through their interactions with politicians and government officials while carrying out their duties in the government house.