The Imo State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists has threatened to boycott activities of the state’s House of Assembly over harassment of its members.
The association said its members were being constantly restrained from covering the plenary despite showing valid identity cards.
According to reports, the mandatory accreditation imposed by the state assembly had restricted many media houses from gaining access to report the Plenary sessions.
In a letter addressed to Speaker of the Assembly, Chiji Collins, the association head saids “We, the members of the correspondents’ chapel, are constrained to draw the attention of the Speaker to an ongoing process of restriction on journalists, especially correspondents of national newspapers, radio and television networks from covering the activities of the Imo State House of Assembly.
“From our findings, the action was premised on a mandatory accreditation exercise for journalists for which our members were hardly notified.
“Since this untoward action, our members who come to the assembly complex with their valid identity cards have several times been embarrassed and harassed by the security personnel attached to the House of Assembly, on the instruction of the leadership.
“We view this action as a dangerous precedent and if steps are not taken to redress it, we are afraid the legislature under you might be viewed as undermining the freedom of the press and of course, the very norms and essence of constitutional democracy which it pledged to uphold.
“This restrictive policy, if sustained, would be an unfortunate reminder of the dark days of Nigeria’s repressive juntas.
“Therefore, we request that, like it is done at the National Assembly and other state houses of assembly, correspondents in Imo State be given unrestricted access to cover the activities of the Imo State House of Assembly because we are major stakeholders in the Imo project.”