N3.5m El-Zakzaky Feeding Backlash: Lai Moh’d Should’ve Heeded Amaechi’s Warning

Following the backlash over leakage of an off-the-record revelation by Lai Mohammed that the Federal Government spends a whopping N3.5 million monthly to feed leader of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria (IMN), Ibrahim El-Zakzaky who is in DSS detention, the issue has generated interest among State House reporters present at the briefing.

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Mr Mohammed had while addressing the press after Wednesday’s Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting told the State House correspondents that the FG spends the sum of N3.5 million to feed Mr El-Zakzaky.

He however warned the reporters that it was an off-the-record revelation, meaning it was not intended for public consumption.

But some media houses ignored the minister’s advice and went ahead to publish the minister’s account.

The news has expectedly generated reactions from members of the public and journalists.

The revelation has equally led to debate among State House reporters on whether or not its a violation of journalism ethics.

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But some reporters present at the briefing where Rotimi Amaechi, Minister of Transport had warned Mohammed against divulging the information to journalists, said the minister should have heeded Amaechi’s advice.

One of the State House correspondents, in a group WhatsApp chat, expressed displeasure with the leakage of the conversation by one of their colleagues.

“Dear colleagues, a very grievous mistake has been made. I will support the idea of in-house discipline. Jacob is not the only one quilty of this.

“We have moles who write for Sahara reporters and other insensitive media organizations across the world domiciled in the SHPC. We need to enforce discipline. Anyone who breaks the rules should be heavily sanctioned. This embarrassment is not only for the government but for all of us.

“Nobody in this Government will trust us with anything confidential. We need to self regulate ourselves. Somebody has broken a story but our reputation collectively has been broken. I suggest we set up a disciplinary comittee to handle issues like this and going forward, we need standing rules on issues of this nature. My view,” read the message.

Another State House reporter responded, saying ‘‘Lai Mohammed begged us not to use this story and we complied but one of us gave it out to OakTV.

Another said, ‘‘my point exactly. And Amaechi was warning him not to divulge anything but he claimed we were his friends.’’

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