Dictator:Kutigi Walks Journalists Out Of National Conference

Tempers rose up on Wednesday at the National Judicial Institute, Abuja as journalists covering the National Conference were forcibly sent out of the plenary for alleged security.

The drama started when the Chairman Conference Committee on National Security, Albert Horsfall, requested the conference Chairman, Justice Idris Kutigi (retd.) to send out the journalists before he could continue his presentation. He cited security reason for his action.

Kutigi, who is a former Chief Justice of Nigeria, granted the request, saying the journalists should leave.

His shouts of “Disappear from this place immediately; Vamoose! Pressmen clear yourselves! The pressmen should disappear from this place! I say Press men disappear, shut your cameras down, shut everything and get out from the gallery right now, clear and get out from there! Disappear,” vibrated though the conference venue.

Expectedly, the overzealous security men swung into action by chasing journalists away from the venue.

The development however angered some of the journalists who threatened to boycott the entire proceedings of Wednesday.

Consequently, the plenary was thrown into confusion for over 40 minutes as the delegates were divided on the appropriateness or otherwise of Kutigi’s action.

Some of the aggrieved journalists said they felt embarrassed with the dictatorial manner with which Kutigi ordered them out of the plenary.

A journalists who preferred anonymity, said they were not opposed to being sent out of the confab on the grounds that delegates wanted to begin an executive session, but that the chairman should have been more diplomatic and civil in his language and approach.

A delegate from the South-West and leader of the Civil Society Organisation, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN), who met some of the journalists outside the premises, said since it was the directive of the chairman, newsmen were free to boycott the session.

As the media professionals were criticising Kutigi over his actions, some delegates who realised the mistake of the chairman came outside to appeal to the media men, saying he had apologised to the journalists.

Among those who came to intervene and apologise on Kutigi’s behalf were the Chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Chief Raymond Dokpesi; a former President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Lanre Ogundipe; Senator Florence Ita Giwa, ex-NUJ President, Mallam Sani Zoro, as well as some delegates representing the CSOs at the conference.

The Deputy Chairman of the conference, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, who also came outside to appeal to the journalists, said the committee chairman requested for the walk out, adding that he had come to apologise on behalf of the conference.
He said, “Please don’t abandon us half way, I came out of the conference to apologise, please your presence will determine the success of this conference. Once again, please accept my apology


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria


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