Ogun State Governor, Ibikunle Amosun, has described as sad deliberate attempts to demarket the state for selfish reasons.
Amosun was reacting to report on social media alleging that his administration mounted sandbags with few bags of rice as rice pyramid to deceive the state indigenes as well as his gullible followers.
The report claimed that the Mitros rice is not available in any shop in Ogun state after much celebration, insisting that there is no rice farm anywhere nor factory where the rice is being bagged.
But speaking at the opening of the 2018 Media Workshop of the State House Press Corps with the theme: “The Role of The Media in Peace Building: 2019 in Perspective”, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Amosun said it was wrong to deliberately run down the state by those who have the plans of running for office not weighing the implications of such action.
Represented by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Chief Dayo Adeneye, who had earlier led members of the Press Corps to the Ogun State Mitros riceE processing factory situated at Asero Odeda local government Ogun, urged the media to continue to report the truth no matter how manipulative politicians try to change the story.
He said that the yield this year will surpass that of last year because the farmers now know that the government serving as off takers will buy whatever they produce and sell at N11,000 to the public.
“I’m just urging our colleagues, we were able to take you round and you saw for yourselves what obtains, you saw the processes, the farms, you saw the farmers, you saw how grateful they were to this administration for empowering them. They were also grateful to the federal government programme IFAD, FADAMA for empowering them and helping them to achieve what they have been able to achieve with MITROS RICE. You also saw the processing plant, the rice mill, the bagging process and all that.
“Some people are just being mischievous because we are approaching election year and they are trying to score cheap political points.
“The social media can either be used either as weapon of mass destruction or weapon of mass development because people tend to believe everything they read on social media whether is true or not.
So we will like for you to tell the story as it is so that these distractors can shut up. Is better for you to tell that story than for us to defend ourselves so they won’t say there is nothing to defend. You have seen that there is no bag of sand as rice, what you saw were happy farmers who are going to plant this year triple what the planted last year both in parboiled rice and Ofada. And people who are happy to buy rice at N11,000 of 50kg rice the same that was going for between N21,000 and N22,000 per bag over a year ago. Now the price has been crashed.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria Governor and the Chairman Presidential Taskforce on Agriculture came to verify for themselves. Rather than encouraging this administration to do more they think they can score cheap political points by de-marketing this state and publishing false and fake stories about MITROS RICE.”
The two guest lecturers at the workshop were Dr. Wale Aderemi, Senior Lecturer, LASU and Dr. Abubakar Kari, Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, University of Abuja.
Aderemi urged the media to shun sensationalism and fake news, and stressed the need for the main stream media to tackle social media which are sadly forming public opinion today.
He said for peace building ahead of the 2019, a free press is key.
As the fourth estate of the realm, peace journalism should be adopted as a framework like the Kenyan Media did. To down play all features that divides the nation, because hiring the side of caution was better than bloodshed.
He said the manner and language of reportage can be very dangerous urging that the truth must be reported but the language must be checked.
He said taking sides and promoting prejudices must be jettisoned ahead of the 2019 elections and become a verifiable tool for reporting the truth.
Kari on his part said, Nigeria is a conflict ravaged polity that is characterized by conflicts.
He said media has been part of the problem rather than being part of the solution.
He said ethnicity, religion, interests of editors and complete lack of neutrality has characterized media report in recent times and urged a change ahead of the elections.
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