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DELTA CONDEMN UDUAGHAN FOR WASTING DELTA STATE FUNDS ON 16 PRIVATE SECTOR JOURNALISTS FOR A REUTERS COURSE IN LONDON

By LiBERATE - Delta People's Movement

LIBERATE – DELTA PEOPLE'S MOVEMENT, a group representing over 20,000 citizens of Delta State have today issued a strong condemnation of Uduaghan following news that 16 PRIVATE SECTOR JOURNALISTS have been sponsored from Delta State funds to attend a journalism course with Reuters in London. Members of the group have expressed great shock and disappointment to hear that this current course was the 'second' such spornsorship of journalist form the State coffers. The Report was carried by This Day Newspaper where it was reported that the one-week training will focus on News writing.

Liberate believes that it is not the business of Delta State to act as the human resources department of privately owned media houses. In addition, the group affirms its strong support for the principal of 'freedom of the press' and it is sad that even the media house could not see how this might compromise their reputation as independent press. The group has also raised concerns about Reuters accepting these candidates on their course and have written to Reuters to tender a formal complaint.

Liberate is seeking full transparency and disclosure and is asking the Uduaghan administration to publish the following

1. A full list of the 16 journalist and which Media Houses they belong to

2. A full list of all round one journalist and the Media Houses they belong to

3. Total cost to the Delta State government
4. Process, criteria and rationale for the selection of the journalist

5. Provide a reason why the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Information, Mr. Austin Mowah, and the Commissioner for Information, Mr. Chike Ogeah also had to attend

6. Total cost of the attendance of the 2 individuals in point 5.

Liberate is concerned that this is a scheme designed to extract funds from the Delta State treasury and to extract continuing favours from loyal Media Houses. There is also speculation that most of the Media Houses in Delta State are controlled by politicians via proxies and that this scheme may therefore by indirect use of public funds to further personal business interest of key people in the Uduaghan administration.

The group's spokesman, Mr. Cadre Drake said that; “Uduaghan is taking the ordinary citizens of Delta State for granted by the unadulterated waste of the State funds. Even if this was a good idea, with 18 people travelling to UK, it would have been significantly cheaper to invite Reuters to Warri. The saddest part is the incompetence of the Uduaghan administration is that that are not prone to taking correction and listening to good advice; the people disserve more information from the Commissioner of Information”.

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LIBERATE was established in 2011 with the following declaration,

“The people of Delta State hereby proclaim their right to freedom, security, justice and good governance. We proclaim our opposition to corruption, nepotism and autocracy. We have suffered enough. Delta must be FREE. We make a solemn commitment to prosperity for all - one Delta, One People, One Future. Arise!” The group now has more than 20,000 members.

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