Delta State Government on Thursday commended media practitioners in the state for their support in the fight against coronavirus pandemic and urged them to intensify efforts at sensitising the people to the reality of the pandemic as many citizens still believed that issue of the virus was a scam. The state commissioner for Information, Charles Ehiedu Aniagwu, gave this charge when he visited the Correspondents Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Asaba, the state capital.
The commissioner, who was in company with the chief press secretary to the governor, Olisa Ifeajika and other media aides to the governor, said they were at the chapel to interact with journalists and to appreciate them for their role in the fight against the pandemic. He said the state government appreciated the effort of the journalists in informing Deltans on what the government was doing in combating the virus.
“We have come here this afternoon to let you understand that even in the midst of the COVID-19, we still appreciate the role you have been playing in the fight against the pandemic. It gives us that sense that you have been working behind the scene; we appreciate the chapel and other journalists for the adequate reporting of the enormous achievements of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration.
“You have made tremendous contributions and we are happy that you have continued to partner us without placing any burden on us and we don’t take this support for granted,” Aniagwu said.
He pointed out that the state government had done quite a lot in the management of the pandemic in the state, stating that “as at today we have 51 confirmed cases of the virus while 30 are active; 14 have been discharged while seven patients died. Our medical personnel have been up and doing and that is the reason the government is doing a lot to make life comfortable for them.
“We still appeal to you to help us to educate those who think that coronavirus is a scam. We have seen the effect of the virus in developed countries and we don’t want that to happen to our people. The accolades we have received from media houses were because of the reports some of you had written, especially in our management of COVID-19 in Delta.
“Beyond that, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) rated us second behind Lagos in standard of living index; our target is to move the standard of living of all Deltans to an enviable height.”
Also speaking, Ifeajika reminded journalists that as members of the Fourth Estate of the Realm, it was their responsibility to partner government in development and also make it accountable to the people. Ifeajika thanked the chapel members for representing the profession well, especially in their contributions to developmental journalism. The CPS however advised them to be circumspect, cautioning against lifting unverified reports from social media.
Earlier in his welcome speech, Chairman of the Correspondents Chapel, Paul Osuyi, called for more support for journalists in the state to enable them function effectively.