The National Conference committees yesterday held their maiden meetings at two venues of the Nigeria Judicial Institute and NICON Luxury hotel in Abuja. Some of committees, ten at each venue preferred to bar newsmen who are covering the conference. They told journalists to wait till meetings were over before they are briefed.
The three committees which insisted that journalists stayed away until they were through were that of Civil Society and Labour led by Mrs Bola Ogunrinade with Issa Aremu as deputy chairman, the Public Service Committee which has Engr. Ebere Okeke as chairman and the Energy Committee led by the former governor of Oyo state, Senator Rashidi Ladoja.
Deputy Chairman, Civil Society, Labour and Sports Issa Aremu had chided journalists who came midway into the conference room 11 of the NICON Luxury, demanded that the journalists introduce themselves despite the tag hanging on their neck and reminded the newsmen how dangerous it was for them to bump into the room as a result of the current insecurity in the country.
Members of his committee unanimously adopted his position to meet behind closed doors and when the journalists wanted to indicate to them that they had the official tags, one of them quipped that “anybody can hang those tags.”
Engr. Okeke leader of the Public Service Committee was more subtle in refusing press coverage of her committee deliberations as she wanted the photo-journalists to take the pictures of his members before ordering them to go out.
The Ladoja led Energy committee also objected to press coverage as one of its members, Chief Richard Akinjide disclosed to our reporter at break time that the members were working well in their committee while some other committees did not mind the presence of journalists in their committee rooms .