The Rivers State Government, in collaboration with the UNICEF today inaugurated a Risk Communication team to further carry on the coronavirus prevention message to the communities of the 23 Local Government Areas.
The State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim, who inaugurated the team at the State Secretariat Complex, said;
“On behalf of the Interministarial Committee and UNICEF, I hereby inaugurate you all as our Risk Communication agents to go to all the nooks and crannies of Rivers State and pass the message of prevention, behaviour change, and to tell our people that Covid-19 is real”.
Charging members of the team on deligence in the delivery of the responsibility vested on them, the Commissioner explained the reason for their inauguration, saying it’s to strengthen the coronavirus response in the State by preventing community response, in accordance with the passion set by the State Governor, Nyesom Wike.
“What we’re here today to do is to strengthen our response. Those of you who are the foot soldiers for this response, you need to know that you are our heros and heriones.
You’re coming at a time when patriotism and sacrifice would be required in this country and in this State. It’s a call to duty, it’s a call for sacrifice.
“We want to ensure that in the 23 LGAs of Rivers State, those of you who are these foot soldiers, will pass the prevention message to ensure that our people don’t live in denial anymore, to ensure that every household gets a message to understand that coronavirus is real”, he said.
Nsirim emphasised on the need for dedication on the task at hand, saying that;
“The work for this moment requires dedication, because you’ll make the sacrifice of your time and convenience. Let’s work together to keep our State safe. Our Governor is giving the right leadership, the political will. So, those of us he’s leading don’t have any excuse not to succeed“.
While assuring that the tools required for the successful execution of their task will be made available to them, the Commissioner further charged them to use such tools judiciously, and avoid falling “into the trap of using this opportunity to do other things”.
Also speaking at the occasion, the UNICEF Chief of Field Office, Rivers State, Dr Guy Yogo, Commended what he called “fantastic and excellent work” already being done by the State Interministarial Committee on COVID-19 in enhancing the check on coronavirus spread in the State.
“I’ll really like to commend and appreciate the leadership of the Interministarial Committee led by the Honourable Commissioner for Information, for the fantastic and excellent work in leading the work for raising awareness and getting the engagement of the people of Rivers State.
He added that;
“I’m speaking on behalf of the Risk Communication and Community Engagement Pillar (of UNICEF) that is the coordination platform of government line ministries, public agencies and intitutions, the Primary Healthcare Agency Board, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), as well as the private sector business owners”, he said.
Dr Yogo explained that the comming together of the various groups was necessitated by the call of the State Governor “to ensure that we take the message of prevention of COVID-19 to all communities in Rivers State”.
He stated that what is being done for Rivers State is not only the right model for the nation, but is also the right model for Africa and the world.
He expressed his pleasure over the opportunity to join the Interministarial Committee under the Chairmanship of the Information Commissioner, “for the official kickoff of the intensive campaign of proximity, dialogue, with the people of Rivers State”.
It will be recalled that the Interministarial Committee had yesterday agreed to partner with UNICEF in the fight against coronavirus spread in the State.
The inauguration of the State Risk Communication team is the first official result of the partnership.