COVID-19: NUJ faults information management approach of Akwa Ibom Govt

Posted by News Express | 20 April 2020 | 569 times

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•Governor Udom Emmanuel

The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Akwa Ibom State Council, has faulted the information management approach of the state government on communications surrounding COVID-19, describing it as soup-pot approach.

In a statement jointly signed by the state Chairman, Comrade Amos Etuk, and Secretary, Dominic Akpan, and made available to newsmen in Uyo on Sunday, the union stated emphatically that at this critical period of the pandemic, what is required is a teamwork approach in the dissemination of information, as applicable in other states of the federation.

The union observed regrettably that two very critical press conference have been held in the last 24 hours by the state government without major stakeholders in the information sector,  including the NUJ, which comprises correspondents of national newspapers and journalists in the local media and state government-owned media organisations.

“The Nigeria Union of Journalists, Akwa Ibom State Council, is concerned by the persistent information mismanagement by those charged with the responsibility to update Akwa Ibom people on the coronavirus pandemic, popularly known as COVID-19.

“While Gov. Udom Emmanuel is doing everything to ensure the safety of Akwa Ibom people, the manner  of presentation of his efforts to the public by the COVID-19 information managers calls for concern as major stakeholders in the sector are often not taken into consideration in such events .

“This afternoon, COVID-19 information managers issued a Press Statement, announcing that the COVID-19 Management Team is carrying out massive testing of Akwa Ibom people to ascertain the level of infection before lifting the ban on the economy this week, without the presence of major stakeholders in the information sector, including the NUJ, which comprises correspondents of national newspapers and journalists in the local media and state government-owned media organisations.

While applauding the intention of the state government to embark on massive testing of the people, the NUJ however pointed out that the statement, was lacking in details, depth and consistency.

It said that the following questions beg for answers: “When is the massive testing exercise commencing? Is there any NCDC approved laboratory in Akwa Ibom?

“If the answer to question 2 is yes; where is the laboratory located? Are Akwa Ibom people going to be tested in their houses?  How long will the exercise last?

“Is it possible for the testing team to cover the 31 local government areas in few days, before the lifting of the ban on the economy? Has Akwa Ibom State Government received test kits from the Federal Government, groups or individuals; if the answer is yes, what is the quantity?”

It could be recalled that the leadership of the correspondents chapel in the state had two day earlier cautioned its members against picking stories around the Covid-19 from social media platforms for publication.

A statement by the state Chairman, Idongesit Ashameri, read: “I want to, therefore, appeal that no Correspondent of national media should henceforth pick any already published story from any of the social media platforms. Any press conference that does not give us the opportunity to interact with the news source and get clarifications where necessary would no longer be carried by members of the correspondents chapel.” (Daily Independent)

Source: News Express

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