States governments are directed to establish Social Media Units and Project Monitoring Teams in their respective Ministries of Information for effective public enlightenment and promotion of government policies and programmes.
They are also to embark on massive enlightenment campaigns on dry season farming to educate farmers on the efficacy of all season farming as well as on the need for people especially the youths to embrace skills acquisition to earn a gainful means of livelihood thus contributing to the economic development of the country.
These were contained in the 21 points communiqué issued at the end of the 46th National Council on Information meeting held at Asaba, the Delta State capital, from Wednesday 26th – Saturday 29th October, 2016.
Furthermore, States governments were urged to direct states Radio and Television stations to air jingles against illicit drug use and trafficking, campaign against unwholesome movies in collaboration with the National Film and Video Censor Board (NFVCB) as well as enter into public private partnership to mitigate the economic burden on stakeholders affected by the Digital Switch Over (DSO) as Nigeria is determined to meet the deadline of June 15, 2017.
Declaring open the meeting, the Executive Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa acknowledged Information as a valuable asset in governance and described the exploit of the social media and other digital platforms in the media landscape as a welcome development towards the promotion of citizens’ participation in governance.
In a keynote address, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed said that the theme of the meeting “Leveraging on Information and Digital Technology to Sustain the Change Agenda of Government” was apt given the Change Agenda of the Federal Government which he explained, has no political or religious coloration, but rather emphasizing a return to the core values of integrity, honesty and industry.
He noted that digital technology would certainly facilitate the work of Information managers, but regretted the emergence of purveyors who seek to distort information using the same technology. He therefore stressed the need for the establishment of Social Media Units in all Ministries of Information to promote government activities and supply correct information to the masses.
Earlier, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Ayotunde Adesugba, had said with the current development in the country, Information and Communication Technology plays important role in facilitating effective communication and urged states to embrace digital technology and support full digitization in broadcast industry.
Presenting the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Information report, the Permanent Secretary, Pastor Praise Okon said the Ministry has taken adequate steps on leveraging Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for effective information delivery and management in the State, as the State government promotes the use of ICT in the running of government business.
He further stated that the process of digitization of the State owned television station by June 15, 2017 deadline is being vigorously pursued adding that since assumption of office, the state Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel has worked vigorously to re-position the information sector to be more proactive and responsive.
Pastor Okon also intimated the Council that the Information Ministry in the State has re-invigorated the Archives Unit for record/data keeping on government activities and programmes as well historical information on the State in compliance with the earlier decision of the National Council on Information.
The meeting which featured paper presentation on “Leveraging on Mobile Technology to sustain the Change Agenda’’ by the Commissioner for Information, Delta State, Mr. Patrick Ukah and goodwill messages by the Delta State council of NUJ and RATAWO, was attended by 548 delegates from 29 States of the country and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, including such organizations like, BON, NUJ, NAN, National Film and Video Censor Board, NIPR, VON etc.
Akwa Ibom State delegates included Directors from the Ministry of Information and Communications, the Director General, AKBC, Pastor Anietie Ukpe and the General Manager, Akwa Ibom Newspapers Corporation, Marvelous Friday Udoh.