Senate Rescinds Decision to Restrict Cameramen from Plenary


Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Senate has rescinded its decision to restrict the number of television cameramen covering proceedings at its plenary sessions from 14 to six, a development which caused the entire cameramen of the Senate press corps to boycott coverage of plenary last Thursday.

The spokesman of the Senate, Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi made the announcement at a briefing yesterday, where he added that the restriction was not an attempt to bar the media from doing its job effectively.

Abdullahi disclosed that the issue was resolved amicably at a meeting with the Clerk of the Senate, Mr. Nelson Ayewo, the Director of Information, Mr. Ishaku Gimba and the Chairman of the Senate Press Corps, Mr. Cosmas Ekpunobi.

“Let me say that, summarily, this issue has been resolved amicably and tomorrow the chamber is going to have full complements of the Senate Press Corps as is usual. We have also agreed that the issue within chamber of where they operate has been resolved. The Clerk has relocated them to the right side, and all the necessary things needed for them to be on that side and do their job, will be provided by the Clerk,” Abdullahi said.

He added that the cameramen have also assured that they would adhere to all ethical standards while in the chamber.
“We want to assure you of our total commitment to deepening democracy, rule of law and participatory governance. And, of course, we respect the fact that the media has that enviable responsibility of reporting whatever transpires here to Nigerians. We can only give you more support to do your job better,” he added.

The Senate spokesman however called on the Senate press corps to check impersonation by fake journalists, adding that an agreement has been reached to ensure a task force fishes such impersonators out.

“We also have the assurance from the Chairman of Senate Press Corps that anybody who is found wanting among the corps, there is an internal mechanism as professionals to resolve the issue through the appropriate disciplinary committee. We are convinced that this is how it should be,” he said.

The Chairman of the Senate Press Corps, Mr. Cosmas Ekpunobi, described the latest development as a victory, adding that the corps would abide by its end of all agreements reached at the meeting.

“For now, the status quo has returned and all the 14-member cameramen will return to their duty post tomorrow (today), with a slight adjustment to their earlier location. I want to pledge on behalf of members that we will abide by the new rules,” he said.