The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has ordered the disbandment of the media crew attached to the Office of the Deputy Governor, Rt Hon Comrade Philip Shaibu, with immediate effect.
This is coming after the deputy governor’s media crew were on Monday restricted from accessing Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub in Benin, venue of the colloquium organised by the state government to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Midwest Referendum which birthed Edo and Delta States.
In a statement Monday night issued by Mr. Chris Osa Nehikhare, Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, the Governor directed the Ministry of Communication and Orientation to step in and offer media coverage for the deputy governor’s office henceforth.
The statement reads, “Edo State Government has disbanded the media crew attached to the Office of the Deputy Governor, with a directive to the Deputy Governor to henceforth request the Ministry of Communication and Orientation for media coverage of activities of his office.
“This directive followed the ugly and unfortunate incident that happened during the colloquium held to mark the 60th anniversary of Midwest Referendum celebration held at the Sir Victor Uwaifo Creative Hub and Soundstage, where some journalists, who claimed to be the media crew of the Deputy Governor, attempted to force their way into the hall where the governor and other invited dignitaries were already seated.
“This act was contrary to the accredited protocol that had been established for the media coverage of the event.
“The orchestrated and stage managed walkout and disruption is highly regrettable.”
Security personnel believed to be attached to Office of the Governor on Monday barred journalists attached to the Deputy Governor’s Office from accessing venue of the 60th anniversary celebration of the Midwest Referendum in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
Shaibu had arrived venue of the event ahead of Governor Obaseki alongside his media crew and made entry into the hall. However, moments later, the crew members were reportedly ejected from the venue, by security personnel, said to be acting on instructions.
Trouble started moments into the event as the Deputy Governor who upon realising that his media crew were not with him at the program exited the hall to fetch his team and were making a return to the hall when security personnel led by the Governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Alfred Okungbowa, barricaded them.
In a trending video seen by this Newspaper, one of the Governor’s media aides could be seen preventing the Deputy Governor’s media crew from accessing venue of the event, citing “order from above”, while calling for backup from the Government House’s Chief Security Officer (CSO).
All efforts made by the Deputy Governor to ensure that his media crew were admitted in the venue were futile as he was blatantly told by the security personnel that they were simply acting on an “instruction from above”, as seen in the trending video.
At that point, Shaibu, it was observed, told his retinue of aides and the affected journalists that he could not be in an event where his media crew are barred. He subsequently exited the venue and drove out alongside his team without speaking to the press.