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Alhaji Lai Muhammed, Minister for Information

Nigeria Minister of Information and Culture Alhaji Lai Mohammed on Wednesday promised to engage with Lagos State Commissioner of Police Hakeem Odumosu over his directive to policemen in the state to prevent journalists from moving during the curfew, Prestige Online reports.

Odumosu on Monday personally mounted a road block in Gbagada, Lagos, where he allegedly denied journalists who were returning home passage, claiming that he did not recognize them as essential duty workers during curfew.

His men in many parts of the state also acted same way claiming they were acting on his directive.

It took the intervention of senior Lagos State Government officials before Odumosu could allow journalists passage after many hours.

On Wednesday, during the daily briefing of the Presidential task Force (PTF) in Abuja, Mohammed said: “I will take up the matter of the commissioner of police in Lagos. Because by my understanding, anybody that is a journalist with identification is allowed to move about”.

National Coordinator of the PTF, Dr. Sani Aliyu, said “of course journalists are exempted. I’m surprised that you are having issues. We will make specific clarifications, we are meeting with security agencies on Friday and we will make it clear to them that people on essential duties are exempted from the curfew.”

Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and Chairman of the PTF, Mr Boss Mustapha said “journalists are part of the essential service. Because, whatever we do here, if you don’t report it then the news item will not get out to the population. The adverts we carry on the radio, television are supposed to enhance and equip our people with knowledge and information, so that they can take informed decision not to go out there. Anything related to press is considered as an essential service for the purposes of allowing you free passage.

“We will look at the issue that happened in Lagos and the Minister of Information will take up that. Because, if we expect the networks to remain open for 24 hours or throughout the night, then when it comes to movement, our security agencies should be adoptive enough to know that this people are coming from their places of work and grant them access”, he said.

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