From Junaid Jibril Maiva, Maiduguri
Overzealous personnel of the United Nations’ Children and Education Fund (UNICEF) yesterday chased away journalists from covering activities of the United Nation’s Peace Ambassador, Malala Yusoufzaid, when she visited Maiduguri.
The incident occurred on Tuesday when Malala was visiting a junior school managed by UNICEF at the Bakassi Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp in Maiduguri metropolis.
A senior officer of the UNICEF asked the journalists representing various media organizations to leave, on the pretext that they were not invited to cover the event, thereby preventing them from getting access into the school where she met with students.
Other embarraseed by the UNICEF staff included the Honourable Asabe Vilita Bashir, Memeber, house of Representatives, Borno state commissioner of Education, members of the national assembly, officials of State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and policemen.
‘We have arrangements only the foreign media are permitted to enter the venue or snap pictures of Malala; we do not need local media.
‘Only the press and people in the entourage will go inside,’ the official said.
Some of the reporters protested and insisted that they should be allowed to cover the event for the benefit of Nigerians.
Another UNICEF staff interjected and rained insults on the journalists and queried on whose invitation they came.
He asked them to go away, shouting that ‘you are not invited, you should not snap photographs or else you will regret your action.’
The UNICEF officer said to the journalists ‘People like you could not come and talk to me. You are a nobody, get out from this place’.
That is most unfortunate and very unfair treatment. Its another form of apartheid which must not be tolerated Borno state govt and NUJ must act to save their officials, people and members from such brazen embarassment . They should be reminded that this is a country with functional constituted authorities.