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Confab Denies Banning Journalists From Committee Proceedings

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As the Committee proceedings of the on-going National Conference entered

the second day, the Assistant Secretary, Media and Communications,

Akpandem James on Wednesday cleared the air on reports that journalists

were barred from covering committee proceedings.
A cross section of the media reported that the Conference barred

journalists from covering Committee proceedings.
But Mr. James, who addressed journalists at the National Judicial

Institute (NJI) venue, said the leadership at no time gave any order for

the media to be restricted from covering any aspect of the Conference.

Out of the 20 Standing Committees, Mr. James said only the Committee on

Devolution of Power initially barred journalists from covering its

He explained that the leadership of the Committee thought committee

sessions were restricted and therefore were not open to direct media

He said: “You cannot say that journalists were barred from covering

activities of Conference Committees if only one out of the 20 Committees

misunderstood the fact that the sittings were supposed to be open to the

“I have just gone in to inform the one of the Co-chairmen of the

Committee, that reporters should be allowed to cover every aspects of the

Committee's work and he immediately agreed that they should come in.”

While enjoining Journalists covering the Conference to always refer issues

they have to his office for prompt attention, Mr James noted that it was

hasty of some reporters to conclude that journalists were being barred

from covering Committee proceedings, when the matter only involved a

single committee.
When journalists were allowed to access the Committee, its Co-Chairman,

Obong Victor Attah advise them to be fair and objective in reporting

activites of the Conference; pointing to a particular report in one of the

newspapers that morning that there was a disagreement between him and the

Co-Chairman of the Committee, Alhaji Ibrahim Commassie.

He admonished: “Please let us act with absolute responsibility. Record

what you want to record, but please do it with absolute sense of

responsibility and with the understanding that what you do will engender

unity and peace in Nigeria.
The Committee which started its sitting on Tuesday has started debate on

resource control.
Many of the delegates were in agreement on the need for resource control

but wished that its implementation be delayed to enable all parts of the

country to be ready to embrace it.
Having attended three subsequent Conferences, Senator Jack Tilley Gyado,

said every time the issue of resource control comes on the table, people

become apprehensive.
He said “a lot of marriages breakdown due to lack of money and how it is

spent.  I must align myself with the contributions of Ibrahim Mantu.

“With 13 per cent being given the South-South, with the NDDC, Ministry of

Niger Delta, the SURE-P, the Amnesty and normal allocations to the states,

I advise we make haste slowly in asking for more to be given. I believe

that the timing of the request is wrong although the request is good.”

Chief Ayo Adebanjo said he is privileged to be part of those who started

the agitation for resource control in the country during which Western

Region used 50 per cent of its resources to carry our massive development

of the region. He said that it was the military that decided on the 50 per

cent and 13 per cent derivation formulae, adding that the nation has a new

opportunity to right the wrongs of the past.
He said, “it was after the military coup of 1966 that the military imposed

this system on us and it has been causing trouble ever since.”

The Committee on Environment has set up four sub committees. These include

Climate Change; Pollution and Gas Flaring; Deforestation, Drought and Bush

Burning; and Waste Management/Mining. The sub-Committees have since

resumed work and will submit their various reports to the Committee based

on the dateline set by the Conference Secretariat.