The Chief Security Officer to President Muhammadu Buhari, Bashir Abubakar, on Monday, expelled PUNCH’s State House Correspondent, Olalekan Adetayo, from the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Abubakar had earlier summoned Adetayo to his office and questioned him on two reports he considered uncomplimentary to Buhari and his administration.
He referred to the lead story of SUNDAY PUNCHof April 23, 2017 titled ‘Fresh anxiety in Aso Rock over Buhari’s poor health’, querying the motive behind the story.
He also referred to our correspondent’s column, Aso Rock Lens, published on Saturday, April 22, 2017 and titled, ‘Seat of power’s event centres going into extinction’.
Abubakar asked one of his men to go and take our correspondent’s statement and revert to him.
He thereafter directed the Officer-in-Charge, Department of State Services, Victor Nwafor, to withdraw our correspondent’s accreditation tag and lead him out of the premises after retrieving his personal belongings from the Press Gallery of the Council Chambers.
Nwafor left an instruction at the Admin Reception that Adetayo should no longer be allowed into the premises after which he handed him over to another security operative, who led our correspondent to where his car was parked to ensure he left the premises as instructed.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, has however, dissociated the President’s media team from the development, saying they were not consulted.
Adesina said this in a message he posted on his Twitter handle.
“We weren’t consulted in the media office by the CSO before he expelled The PUNCH reporter. President Buhari is committed to press freedom.
“An amicable solution would be found to The PUNCH reporter’s matter. President Buhari does not intend to muzzle the media in any way,” Adesina wrote.