By Chioma Onuegbu, Uyo
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Akwa Ibom State Council, has expressed displeasure over what it termed ‘soup-pot’ information management on COVID-19 fight in the state.
In a statement signed by the Chairman and Secretary Comrades Amos Etuk and Dominic Akpan respectively, yesterday (Sunday) evening, the Council said while the intention to embark on massive testing of the people was commendable, that the statement issued regarding the development lacked details, depth and consistency.
The statement reads, “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.
“While the intention to embark on massive testing of the people is commendable, we are quick to point out that the statement, is lacking in details, depth and consistency.
“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?
The Council condemned the sidelining of practicising Journalists in the state on government activities regarding the Coronavirus only to issue a press statement later and circulate to media houses.
It decried a situation where government through its COVID-19 information managers would have important announcement regarding the COVID-19 Management Team without involving major stakeholders in the information sector, including the NUJ, which comprises correspondents of national newspapers and those in the local media.
“It is pertinent to state emphatically at this critical period of this pandemic, that what is required now is a teamwork approach in the dissemination of information, as applicable in other states of the federation.
“We believe that such approach will go a long way in reassuring the people of Akwa Ibom of the measures taken so far to contain the pandemic”, the statement stressed.