The number of State House correspondents was yesterday pruned to 16 over the coronavirus pandemic. Only one of them is a newspaper reporter. The number was out of the over100 journalists accredited to cover activities of the Presidency.
Presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, in a circular yesterday listed the correspondents to enter the Villa for media coverage of any event beginning from today until further notice as the Covid-19 incidence would dictate as including: “Chairman, State House Press Corps – for coordination; NTA crew; Channels TV crew; TVC crew; FRCN reporter; VON reporter; NAN reporter; The Sun reporter; ThisDay photographer; Leadership photographer; Daily Trust photographer; Guardian photographer; and Vanguard photographer.”
Adesina advised those not represented in the list of selected journalists to liaise with those listed for necessary information as well as the information officers in the President’s Media Office.
He pleaded for understanding and cooperation as the security department enforced the restriction measure during what he called “trying period”.
The circular read: “In view of the current restriction in the Federal Capital Territory against gathering of not more than 50 persons at the same time at any venue, as well as to be able to maintain social distancing following the spread of Covid-19 pandemic, it has become imperative to drastically review down the presence of the over 100 State House correspondents who usually rendezvous in the Press Briefing Room in the Presidential Villa during this period since all other departments have scaled down the presence of their staff.”
The Chief of Staff to the President and three of his aides had reportedly tested positive to coronavirus. President Muhammadu was said to have tested negative.
Meanwhile, members of the Presidential Task Force on Coronavirus were sighted at State House in Abuja yesterday. President Buhari yesterday met with Governor Aminu Masari of Katsina State. The president later met with the security chiefs.