The head of Civil Service of Akwa Ibom State, Mrs. Ekerebong Akpan has stated strong points why activities of the pen profession should have an effective support from the government.
The said this in her office during a courtesy visit on her by the State Working Committee (SWC) of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) recently. She noted that positive reportage, development journalism as well as truth and factual reports should be the mainstay, “let the media endeavor to report good things associated with our people not false and name calling. If the CNN and other foreign media organization do not see any good thing in us to report, can’t we do?”, she queried.
Mrs. Akpan who assumed office in that capacity on November 1, 2015 as the fifth head of the Civil Service in the state poured encomiums on the leadership of the union led by Elder Patrick Albert on the strides so far recorded by the union in recent times could be compared with the current trend in the state where good and positive things are happening urged the visitors not to renege in their effort to develop capacity building of members as this, according to her is the hall-mark of professionalism.
Reacting to the request by the NUJ leadership, Head of the Civil Service promised that her office will continue to support the training and retraining of people especially those under government employ added that professional bodies such as the NUJ would also be given consideration in terms of training, “training cannot be neglected, we will be a part of it”.
Touching peculiarity allowance media workers especially those in government employ code named, ‘22.5 per cent weigh-in allowance’ for Journalists in view of the hazardous nature of their work, Mrs. Akpan maintained that she will do everything within her powers to ensure that is implemented, “government is sensitive to the plight of workers. If other professional bodies get their peculiarity allowance, that of NUJ cannot be exception”, she added.
Earlier in his address, the state chairman of the NUJ, Elder Patrick Albert noted with delight the contributions of the Head of Civil Service as a person and her office to the development of the state, “what is more, we wish to say that we have carefully followed your record in the Service and your activities since your assumption of office as the chief overseer of the Civil Service and we can rightly say without equivocation that you have proven your worth as a resourceful manager of men and resources”.
The chairman however decried the incessant false and unverified reports by some media workers, attributed it to lack of awareness and training to members, “as the Fourth Estate of the Realm and the society’s watchdog, we are conscious of utilizing the enormous powers that we wield to advance the development of the State and the Nation. However, we face the challenge of offering our members regular training and retraining programmes within and outside the State due to paucity of funds. It is therefore through such opportunities of training and retraining that we can drive our practice professionally in line with developmental journalism, as a way of repositioning our state positively as a place to be and a place to invest”.
While appreciating members of the union for supporting him to achieve this feat within the space of two years, he called on the HOCS’ support to NUJ infrastructure improvement at the NUJ press centre, “already, we have completed the perimeter fencing/Gate House and Mini Club House, and have equally carried out renovation on the existing one-storey building in the Centre. Currently, work on the multipurpose 2-storey office building has reached roofing level. The building has a space for a 300-capacity ICT Centre, a Library and a Conference Room. We will follow up with the construction of a-30 Bedroom Guest House and a-1000 capacity auditorium. We also seek the support of your office for the completion of these historic projects. It will be worthwhile to have your signature in our hall of fame”.
On the issue of boosting the morals of media workers especially those in government employ, the chairman noted, “we wish also to reiterate our appeal for the payment of the 22.5 percent Weigh-in Allowance for Media Workers in the employ of Government vis-à-vis Akwa Ibom Newspapers Corporation (AKNC), Akwa Ibom Broadcasting Corporation (AKBC), Radio and Television Services and the staff of the Directorate of Information, Ministry of Information and Communications as being implemented already at the Federal Level and some other States of the Federation”.
Present at the visit were members of the State Working Committee; the chairman, Newsfront Chapel, Saviour Ekpe, the newly sworn-in NAWOJ Chairperson, Uduak Ekong among others.