Mosul's governor accuses politicians of exaggerating situation in the city
Nofal Al Agub has imposed reporting restrictions on journalists in Mosul's Old City after negative reports
Mosul's self-appointed governor says the situation in the northern Iraqi city is “not as bad as it looks” despite extremely damaged infrastructure and poor public services after a three-year occupation at the hands of ISIS militants.
Nofal Al Agub accused a parliamentary committee set up to assess Nineveh province’s security and challenges for “over-exaggerating” the situation in the war-torn province.
“The parliamentary committee that has been set up is currently announcing false information aiming to dismantle the province,” Mr Agub said during a press conference on Tuesday evening, referring to Nineveh, the northern province that hosts Mosul.
The governor accused a number of committee members of threatening officials in the governorate in order to halt their daily duties.
Iraqi MP Osama Al Nujafi was assigned to head the committee in December to investigate Nineveh’s security, economic, public service and humanitarian developments.
The committee announced that it has postponed the release of its "final report" until it completes a series of additional investigations with administrative and security officials.
The development comes as Mr Al Agub on Monday issued an order banning journalists from entering the Old City of Mosul.
Local police arrested Jassar Al Hamdani, a journalist and a few others of Mosuliya Channel on Tuesday for allegedly criticising Mr Agub’s order.
Mosuliya Channel was established in 2006 by the US State Department.
Mr Al Hamdan said that two other journalists, Ziad Tariq Bashir and his photographer Ahmed Amjad Hamed, are currently being held at the police station on the orders of the governor.
Local reports suggest that Mr Ziad was offered release if he agreed to write a report in favor of Mr Al Agub for his efforts to rebuild Mosul.
The move prompted the Association of the Freedom of Press in Iraq to call on Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to ensure that officials abide by media laws.
“Mr Abdul Mahdi must follow up on the decisions made by the governor to ensure that no violations are committed against journalists,” according to a statement by the association.
The move has caused outrage in Mosul.
Mr Agub was suspended in December 2017 for two months over corruption and damage to public property.
He faced charges of fraud, corruption, kidnapping and torturing three journalists after they shed light on his alleged offences.
In 2016, Nineveh’s provincial council had ousted Mr Al Agub but Iraq’s federal court overturned the decision.
Large swathes of Iraq's north were reduced to rubble during the three-year occupation of ISIS and the Iraqi forces' ensuing battles to wrestle them back. But with the end of the war declared in December 2017, attention shifted to the country's spiralling unemployment and decaying infrastructure.
An ordinary man from Mosul was asked to testify in front of parliament on Saturday about the public's frustration with the government’s lacklustre progress in rebuilding Mosul.
“Mosul is suffering, Mosul is exhausted,” Ahmed Ibrahim Mohammed told members of parliament as he broke down in tears.
He told lawmakers that unemployment remains high in Mosul, as well as poor public services that have had a significant impact on the well-being of residents.
Updated: January 23, 2019 07:49 PM