Mr Aniagwu who was accompanied by the Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, Senior Special Assistant to the governor on Media, Mr Nelson Egware and two others for the interaction, said Governor Okowa is focused on building a lasting legacy for the people of Delta, urging media practitioners and all Deltans to key into all programmes of the governor.
According to him, a better, stronger and smarter Delta will benefit all the people of the state and that is what Okowa’s administration is determined to give to citizens.
Aniagwu stated that the government had taken steps to develop the state in the last five years, adding that a lot of the electoral promises by the governor had been achieved.
He commended members of the Association of Community Newspaper Publishers of Nigeria (ACNPN) for publicizing the activities of the state government, saying the governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, is happy with what members of the forum are doing for the state.
While reeling out numerous achievements of the state government for the past years,the Commissioner said the state government under Governor Okowa has built schools and over 400 roads across the three senatorial districts of the state, adding that the state is contributing immensely to the contributory health scheme, thereby making health care affordable and accessible to all Deltans.
“In the days ahead we are counting on same support, if not more, because your report has so far culminated in the rating of Delta as second in terms of standard of living in the country.
“We plead with you Association of Community Newspaper Publishers of Nigeria (ACNPN) to continue to assist us in the sensitisation of our people,’’ he said.
On COVID-19, the commissioner said there was the need for all hands to be on deck to “flatten the curve’’.
According to him, we need to flatten the curve so that we can go back to our normal life; but the more we are able to observe the existing protocols, the better we are able to exit the pandemic on time.
“For us to return to our normal life, we need your assistance to enlighten the people because this scourge is real. We will remain focused and not be distracted by any criticisms.
“As of today, our total confirmed cases stand at 88; 17 patients have so far been discharged and unfortunately, we lost eight persons to the pandemic due to underlying ailments.
“We had a situation yesterday where somebody who was being treated left the facility in controversial circumstances.
“We have put in place machineries to bring him back and we have told the general public and all those who know him to stay clear from him because he actually tested positive,” he stated.
Aniagwu, who was in company with the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor, Mr Olisa Ifeajika, thanked the Grassroots Publishers (Association of Community Newspaper Publishers of Nigeria )for their reports and urged them to always cross-check unverified reports, particularly in the social media, to avoid sensationalism and falsehood.
“I thank you for the wonderful work you have been doing by reporting the activities of government at all times.
“It is not by accident that the media were termed the fourth estate of the realm, because of the role it plays in the development of every nation.
“As key stakeholders, I commend you for your developmental publications, which have showcased the numerous activities of the state government.
“Okowa runs a very transparent government and will always welcome constructive criticisms from any quarters,” he added.
Mr. Ifeajika, the CPS to the governor, told the ACNPN members that Delta state is for all Deltans, hence every resident should join hands to build a state that will be the envy of all, both within and outside the state.
He said the state government has nothing to hide from anyone insisting that the state is open and the government is transparent in its dealings with the people and called on the media to verify all reports available to them before publishing.
He agreed that the ACNPN members which is already beating the mainstream media in the distribution of news and other information, has come to stay. He, however, called for media practitioners to watch and ensure stories are credible before publishing.
In their separate remarks, ACNPN State Chairman, Comrade Jude Obiemenyego, welcomed the commissioner and his entourage and assured that the publishers would remain committed to the development of the state.
Obiemenyego said the group had resolved to ensure that only well verified reports were published by members of the association. He assured the visitors that his colleagues will always seek clarification before making any publication to ensure balanced reports, adding that the group worked hard to publicise activities of government, including COVID-19 pandemic.