The Bayelsa State Government says it has resorted to use of traditional media to persuade residents to embrace its ongoing urban renewal policy.
Commissioner for Information, Orientation and Strategy, Chief Ayiba Duba, made this known in an interview in Yenagoa, the state capital, in Monday, June 7, 2021.
“Our efforts in using the traditional organs of mass communication has not been very effective in changing the behavioural patterns of the people.
“We have decided to bend back and resort to the basic traditional approach to involve the town criers and traditional forms of communication to achieve behavioural change in our people.
“It is a gradual thing and will take a while.
“The task before us in the ministry in charge of information, orientation and strategy is enormous .
“We are putting finishing touches in the plan and we have to rely on the use of our local dialects.
“We are trying to ensure that the messages and media of communicating them all align with existing media laws,” Duba said.
He said that the ministry had acquired buses mounted with public address systems to disseminate the messages on the gains of the ongoing urban renewal.
Duba said that the ministry would also engage layers of community and opinion leaders in the various communities on the policy.
The commissioner said that the state government had the political will to pursue the policy to a logical conclusion and give the state capital a befitting status.
He said Gov Duoye Diri had approved the use of town criers and other traditional means of communication to disseminate government’s message on the ongoing urban renewal programe in Yenagoa.
The governor explained that the Diri-led administration was committed to curbing the haphazard development in the state capital which had defaced it since the state was created in 1996.
“The policy has come to stay and it is regrettable that we have deviated from the norm for so long. Those of us who have been in government for sometime now have to sit up and do the right thing.
“The good thing is that Gov Douye Diri has said that he is committed to this policy even at the risk of ‘losing political capital’ as a first term governor.
“So there is no going back on this. Our people must realise the need for development control.
“It is very worrisome that people raise illegal structures at will and it has persisted for decades such that every effort of government is misinterpreted.
“The time to correct the errors is now; we are doing this in public interest.
It will be recalled that Diri, on May 5, directed the demolition of all illegal structures, including buildings and markets in and around Yenagoa.
The directive sparked off public outcry from the affected small business operators who said the policy lacked human face.
On the operators’, Duba said government had approached the policy from a persuasive dimension, adding that it had engaged the affected groups on the way forward, to no avail.
By Nathan Nwakamma