Journalists boycott activities at Akwa Ibom state assembly over appointment of non-journalist as press secretary

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Akwa Ibom State Council have decided to boycott the activities at the Akwa Ibom House of Assembly, following appointment of a non-journalist as the press secretary to the speaker of the assembly.

Penpushing reports that the union took the decision after the monthly congress, as contained in a communique issued on Wednesday jointly signed by Amos Etuk(Chairman), Dominic Akpan (Seretary), and Iniobong Ekponta, (Chairman communique drafting committee, as well as  two other members of the committee

“Congress directed all journalists covering the activities of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, including the Press Corps to withdraw their services with immediate effect over the appointment of a non-journalist as the Press Secretary by the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Udeme Otong. Congress frowned at this development and consequently warned that any defaulting member of the Union shall face severe sanctions’ the communique reads.

Penpushing further reports that the position of press secretary is traditionally reserved for a practicing journalist, and headed by media practitioner who is the head of the assembly’s press corps which consists of reporters from various media houses in the state.

The Speaker contrary to the normal practice appointed Nkereuwem Udom, a politician and former local lawmaker at the Ibesikpo-Asutan Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State where he was the leader of the house.

Penpushing also reports that the controversial press secretary in reaction to the position of the union, declared that he was not bothered about the decision, arguing that he is conversant with the constitution of Nigeria and other laws

“I am conversant with the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and other laws, I have not seen, I have not read where the speaker should seek approval of anybody before appointing personal aides’, he stated.

‘The appointment of personal aides is at the discretion of the holder of the office, except and otherwise stated by the constitution of Nigeria. The journalists have made their position known and there is nothing wrong with that. I am holding the office at the discretion of the speaker. I will work with the NUJ and all the journalists. I know everything will be resolved,” he added.

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