Cross River Governor Ben Ayade has reportedly barred journalists from four different media stations from covering his activities.
This happened weeks after a video of the governor and his deputy surfaced on the Internet.
A source, who spoke to SaharaReporters on the condition of anonymity, said the governor believed the video was leaked by one of the state house reporters.
"Tthe governor didn’t want to make it official to avoid being called out by the media groups so he sent his chief press secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, to announce to the four reporters by words of mouth,” the source said.
“Mr. Christian has been monitoring the reporters at the state house since then to make sure they don’t cover any of the governor’s activities. The Chief Press Secretary said left to the governor alone, none of the barred journalists will ever set foot in the state house again.
Another source at the government house, who confirmed the reports, told SaharaReporters: "The governor was very livid about the backlash generated by that video and all accusing fingers were pointed at a particular correspondent of one of the media outlets, youth corpers and some other reporters in the governor's press corps.
“Twenty-four hours after the release of the video, an internal memo from government house was circulated among members of government house press corps, picking out choice media organizations that will be allowed to cover the governor's activities henceforth."
The source added: “The internal memo was signed by the Information Officer, Nakanda Iyadim, and it warned against the sharing of text messages or videos of the governor's activities by any correspondent unless it is cleared by the Chief press secretary, Mr. Christian Ita, who was not yet reappointed as chief press secretary at the time.
“The memo directed that only the 13 people which includes past aides, Messrs Emmanuel Ulayi, Offiong Onoyom, and Beatrice Akpala will be part of the Governor’s itinerary. To that effect, the reporters for CrossRiverWatch, Hit FM, FAD FM, Sparkling FM, NTA, and Radio Nigeria will sit and wait for their colleagues as they were not listed in the memo.”
When SaharaReporters contacted Mr. Ita, he denied the reports describing it "rubbish”.
The press secretary who didn’t wait for our correspondent to finish stating why he called , said: "it’s rubbish! It’s rubbish!” after he heard, “…from SaharaReporters, we got reports that the governor…”
He said a statement had been issued titled: ‘Ayade Remains Media Friendly’
READ FULL STATEMENT:
The attention of Cross River state government has been drawn to a publication circulating in the social media alleging a ban on some media organisations from covering activities of Governor Ben Ayade.
The publication is intended to misinform the public.
For the avoidance of any doubt, no media organisation is barred from covering activities of the governor.
The internal memo from which the publication anchored the blatant lie was meant to manage movement of the Government House Press Crew in the face of temporary transportation challenges.
There is nowhere in the memo where any media house or journalist was pronounced banned.
Governor Ayade remains the most accessible and media- friendly governor.
In the last four years, he has at every juncture demonstrated this. He therefore, has no plans to jettison this aspect of his nature.
Chief Press Secretary to Governor