Delta state government has swiftly reacted in strong terms to an online publication, titled: “Controversy Trails Delta Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan‘s Sponsorship Of Journalists To London Training, As NUJ Chairman Faces Impeachment”, allegedly published by Saharareporters.
The publication alleged that huge sum of money had been spent by the Delta State Government to sponsor 16 practicing journalists, mostly members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on week-long professional training programme at the Thomson Reuters Institute in London.
A statement signed by the Delta state Commissioner for Information, Barr. Chike Ogeah and made available to Blank NEWS Online, has however hinged the training programme on the good intentions of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan who recognizes the importance of developing the human capital in achieving developmental goals.
While describing the publication by Saharareporters as characterized by mischief, mental laziness, stagnation and narrow mindedness, the statement which is dated Thursday, September 26, 2013 affirmed that the special training programme for journalists practicing in Delta State is one that the administration of Dr. Uduaghan is proud of and will continue to support.
The statement tagged: Re: “Controversy Trails Delta Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s Sponsorship Of Journalists To London Training, As NUJ Chairman Faces Impeachment” reads:
“The attention of the Delta State Ministry of Information has been drawn to a publication by Saharareporters on its web journal entitled “Controversy Trails Delta Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s Sponsorship Of Journalists To London Training, As NUJ Chairman Faces Impeachment.”
“In the publication, Saharareporters alleged that the sum of N250 million was spent by the Delta State Government to sponsor 16 journalists based in the state on the on-going one-week professional training at the Thomson Reuters Institute in London, the United Kingdom.
“As outlandish as the report may seem, Saharareporters has ceased to amaze anybody with its fabled penchant for ridiculous armchair story writing. Even though Saharareporters willfully failed to crosscheck its story with the Delta State Ministry of Information, common sense dictates it could have easily contacted Thomson Reuters Institute for clarification on the training as the cost of such programmes are on the public domain.
“Obviously, telling the truth was not on the cards for Saharareporters. The fact that the story relates to a profession it purports to be a practitioner was not even enough for them to tread the path of honour and candour.
“First, the cost incurred by the Delta State Government in sponsoring the training programme is N15 million which included the visa fee, return air ticket, course fee, accommodation, transportation within London and allowance for the journalists. The total course fee paid to Thomson Reuters is 10,200 British pounds. Apparently, this was what Saharareporters may have interpreted as amounting to N250 million!
“In its haste to denigrate whatever has the imprint of Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, CON, Governor of Delta State, Saharareporters resorted to attacking the noble profession that has brought honour to Nigeria. If any effort had been made to ascertain the truth, they would have known that the Special Assistant to the Commissioner for Information was not on the training tour but is in Asaba. Saharareporters is apparently angry that real journalists have been afforded the opportunity of updating their skill in the best institution in the world at minimal cost.
“It is only in the warped mind of the minders of Saharareporters that the training seemed “controversial”. Making up stories of fictitious discord within the ranks of the state council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) only reinforces the fact that the operators and reportorial crew of Saharareporters need training on the basics of journalism.
“The online journal is too enmeshed in its morbid desire to undermine the administration of Dr. Uduaghan that it has pitched itself against professionalism, good practice and excellence. When Saharareporters classifies the training of journalists in Delta State as a jamboree then the web journal is in trouble.
“Training and re-training of personnel are key to the success of every organization. Not too surprisingly, Saharareporters is still hostage to its early spell when readers were initially taken by the bizarre stories published on the web journal. It should know that Nigerians are now wiser.
“Dr. Uduaghan recognizes the importance of developing the human capital in achieving developmental goals. That is why university graduates of Delta State origin that pass with first class honours enjoy free masters degree programmes in any university of their choice worldwide. It is why secondary school students in public schools in Delta State have their final examination fees paid fully by the state government. It is the wisdom behind the free maternal and child health care for children up to five years. The free tuition and child care are being implemented without consideration to the state of origin of the children.
“We are proud of our record and achievements in the education sector, even as we strive to reduce the state’s relatively low figure of seven percent of children who are not in school. The recent launching of the Education Marshal (EduMarshal) programme is aimed at ensuring 100 percent school enrolment.
“We do not belong to the world of Saharareporters characterized by mischief, mental laziness, stagnation and narrow mindedness. The special training programme for journalists practicing in Delta State is one that the administration of Dr. Uduaghan is proud of and will continue to support.”