From Yakubu Mustapha Minna
The Niger state government has prohibited all civil servants in the state from speaking with the press or expressing their view on any media without authorization from their respective organizations.
It was gathered that the Information Officers in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies are also affected by the ban. They are to seek authorization from their Chief Executives before speaking to any journalist.
Our correspondent, however, stumbled on the circular signed by the Head of Service, Yabagi Alhaji Sule which was sent to all MDAs in the state while trying to get some clarification on an ongoing investigation.
According to the circular, the state government was reacting to the participation of some civil servants, employed in one of the state media houses, on a radio programme tagged ‘Journalist Hang Out’ in a private FM station in the state.
The programme criticized the inability of the government to meet up with its promise to the people and pointed out some areas which the government have failed to address.
The circular read, “The Niger state Head of Service has in accordance with the provisions of section 04436 (1C) warned in very strong terms that any civil servant caught granting interviews to Press without express authorization of his or her Chief Executive will face the wrath of the law.
“The Head of Service stated that extant rules in the service prohibits civil servants from speaking with the press without authorization is still in force. Severe disciplinary measures await all defaulting officers, no matter how highly placed. “
Citing the term, ‘He who pays the piper dictates the tune’, the Head of Service called on all civil servants to remain loyal and law abiding because according to him, “in the day of reckoning, obedient officers will be appropriately rewarded.”
Efforts to get the Head of Service, Yagbagi Alhaji Sule to clarify the issues raised in the circular proved abortive as reporter was denied access into his office by his Personal Assistant when she went to his office to seek clarification.