Governor Babatunde Fashola of Nigeria’s Lagos State has banned commissioners, other political office holders and all civil servants from granting interviews to journalists.
The governor said that any political office holders who must grant press interviews must take permission from the Ministry of Information in order not to leak government’s official secrets.
According to the Head of Service, HOS, Adesegun Ogunlewe, the governor had directed that no public servant or political office holders must grant press interviews without due approval.
During his first tenure, Fashola imposed similar ban on commissioners and other public office holders who took permission from the then Commissioner for Information and Strategy before granting press interviews. This restriction made many commissioners look docile and gagged.
Ogunlewe, in a circular, said: “It has become imperative as government has observed that some public officials have formed the habit of granting informal interviews and in the process divulging official information on public policies which are still under consideration and are not yet approved for action by government”.
“Consequently, the governor has directed that no government functionary (public servants and public office holders) should grant press interviews or issue press statements without the approval of the Ministry of Information and Strategy”.
“Furthermore, under no circumstance should any public servants or public office holders comment or discuss government policies which are still under consideration. Government is aware that officers may be required to represent their political heads and read speeches at event, such officers are to limit themselves to the contents of the written speeches which must have been cleared appropriately prior to the event by their political heads”, he added.
Ogunlewe warned that violation of the order would lead to sanctions against any offender.