From: Shitile Mbayansa, Abuja
For over five hours they waited for the much-talked about meeting between President Muhammadu Buhari and the freed 82 Chibok young ladies, popularly called Chibok girls, though many are now mothers, against their will.
But when the young ladies were driven into the Aso Rock Villa in military-owned Marcopolo Luxury buses at about 7.04 p.m., the journalists were locked out, except the Nigerian Television Authority camera men, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), and the Vioce of Nigeria (VON) reporters.
The journalists who had been at the Council Chambers were advised to proceed to the President’s private residence; but when Women Affairs Minister, Senator Aisha Alhassan, came in with the Chibok ladies, security operatives, apparently acting on instructions stood against the journalists.
They were livid. And that is all they could be, as it was suspected that their presence at the meeting would have been an opportunity to focus on the ailing Buhari rather than the main event, a source said.
The President’s meeting with the Chibok ladies lasted about 50 minutes.
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, blamed space constraints at the President’s residence for the barring of the journalists, as well as the need to give government the upper hand in controlling “the narrative.”
Presidential Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, who was to later release a statement on the President’s trip to London, told the angry and disappointed journalists that a comprehensive rehab process was in place for the 82 young lafies.
The parents of the ladies would soon have access to their wards, he added, declining to speak on the number of released terrorists to give way for the freedom of the young ladies.
That is the jurisdiction of security agencies, Adesina said.