Udora Orizu in Abuja
Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has urged the leadership and management of the National Assembly to immediately withdraw the repressive media accreditation guidelines or face legal action.
The National Assembly management had in a letter Monday issued the media accreditation guidelines for journalists from covering the National Assembly.
Some of the 20 conditions listed are evidence of incorporation of the media organisation, proof of membership of the NUJ with registration number and the code of certification from the National Library of Nigeria.
Reacting, SERAP in a statement on Tuesday by its deputy director Kolawole Oluwadare said: “Nigerians expect the leadership of the National Assembly to show a greater level of transparency and accountability and to explain and take responsibility for what they are doing rather than implicitly banning journalists from covering their public functions. Implementing the ‘accreditation guidelines’ would allow the lawmakers to escape accountability for their constitutional functions.”
The organisation urged the Senate President Bukola Saraki and Speaker of the House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara to open the windows and let in the daylight of the National Assembly by immediately withdrawing the accreditation guidelines and allowing journalists to freely cover the activities of leadership and members of the National Assembly.
SERAP said it would pursue national and international legal action if the unlawful guidelines was not withdrawn by Friday.
“These accreditation guidelines are designed deliberately as barriers against transparency and accountability and amount to a blatant violation of the rights to freedom of expression, freedom of information and media freedom.
These are fundamental rights lying at the heart of any system of democratic governance.”