Femi Adesina, the Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity has said the President’s spokespersons were not consulted before Punch Reporter, Olalekan Adetayo was expelled from covering the State House.
On Monday, Adetayo was walked out of the Villa on the orders of Buhari’s Chief Security Officer, Bashir Abubakar. The CSO’s action was said to be connected with the reporter’s story of Sunday, April 23 titled ‘Fresh Anxiety in Aso Rock Over Buhari’s Health’.
The report indicated that Buhari’s health was failing again after he returned from a 49-day vacation in Britain. He wrote: “The 74-year-old Nigerian leader was only seen in public once throughout last week when he joined other Muslim faithfuls for a Juma’at sevice on Friday at a mosque located near his office inside the Presidential Villa, Abuja. The service lasted less than one hour after which Buhari returned to his residence.
“Before Friday’s brief appearance, the last time he was seen in public was penultimate Friday when he attended the same service at the same venue.
“Presidency sources attributed the President’s continuous non-appearance at public events to his ailing health and the need to take further rest.”
The report carried a photograph of a very frail-looking President Buhari shaking hands withh Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai at the Juma’at service.
In an official statement on Twitter on Monday titled: ‘Re: News of Expulsion Of The Punch State House Correspondent,’ Adesina wrote:
“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 matter. President Buhari does not intend to muzzle the media in any way.”