Scare in National Assembly over COVID-19

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More than one month after it abruptly adjourned plenary indefinitely, the National Assembly, on Tuesday, resumed to consider critical requests from President Muhammadu Buhari.

The resumption of the two chambers of the National Assembly didn’t come without its usual drama.

In its usual manner, the management of the Parliament, with support from the leadership of the two chambers, barred journalists from accessing the complex.

Citing the outbreak of the deadly COVID-19, overzealous security agents, denied journalists duly accredited to cover activities of the National Assembly, despite their strict compliance with herculean modalities put in place by the management of the Parliament.

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Journalists numbering over 100, who arrived at the National Assembly entrance, were stopped. They were also not allowed to stay anywhere close to the entrance to the complex by security agents, who claimed they were under strict instructions not to allow any journalists gain access.

An unnamed security officer, who threatened to beat journalists for insisting that they be allowed to cover plenary, said the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Omolori, threatened to sanction anyone who allows a journalist into the building.

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He said only important persons were allowed to gain access. He said the Clerk directed them to inform journalists to follow proceedings of the the two chambers online.

Attempts by the leadership of the Senate Press Corps to explain why it was imperative for journalists to be permitted, were rebuffed.

As at the time of filing in this report at about 1PM, journalists were still kept in the sun, while aides and other staff of the National Assembly were allowed to come in.

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