There is a sharp division at the Presidency over the expulsion of the State House correspondent of The Punch, Olalekan Adetayo, who was on Monday expelled from the beat over a story on President Muhammadu Buhari’s health.
The Chief Security Officer to the President, Bashir Abubakar, had on Monday expelled the reporter following a report by The Punch on Sunday that there was fresh anxiety at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa over Buhari’s health.
Adetayo’s tag was seized before he was subsequently driven out of the State House.
He was earlier in the afternoon summoned and interrogated by the Chief Security Officer to the President.
But the spokesman of the president, Femi Adesina, said on his twitter handle that the media office of the Presidency was not contacted before the reporter was expelled.
Adesina said President Buhari was committed to press freedom.
We weren’t consulted in the media office by the CSO before he expelled The Punch reporter. President Buhari is committed to press freedom.
An amicable solution would be found to The Punch reporter matter. President Buhari does not intend to muzzle the media in any way,” Adesina stated.
The CSO had penultimate Thursday had an interactive session with members of the State House Press Corps during which he handed them guidelines on how to report the Villa.
The CSO had also in January summoned Daily Trust and the Punch correspondents over a story on an accidental discharge that injured a female worker at the State House.
Our correspondent reports that in 2015, Buhari’s administration reinstated the correspondent of Radio Deuchewelle, Musa Ubale, who was expelled by the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. Ubale is the incumbent chairman of the State House Press Corps.