The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has said there are no plans to lay off the staff of the state-owned newspaper, the Nigerian Observer.
He noted that the media outfit is being revamped and upgraded to conform to the requirements of the digital era to enhance productivity.
Obaseki gave the assurance while addressing journalists shortly after taking a tour of the ongoing revamp of the media outfit in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
The government, in line with the reforms of the state-owned media organisations, directed the closure of the newspaper for a period of one month, for re-organisation and re-launch of the media outfit.
The governor at the tour assured that “nobody will be laid off,” noting that those who cannot be retrained in digital media would be redeployed to other ministries
“I am sure that there are other duties they can perform in the Ministry of Communication and Orientation, as well as other ministries and agencies of government,” he added.
On the ongoing revamp of the media outfit, Obaseki said, “They are actually printing online. As far as I am concerned, the Nigerian Observer is alive. You may not see the old building but it is running. As a government, what we are trying to do is to revive the media, culture and sports sectors because these are the new economy.
“We are taking advantage of the history of this premises to rebuild the press that was here before. We replaced the 50 years old press building with a modern and digital web press.
“Not just to print only the Observer, we expect that it would serve the whole of the sub-region. We also have a speed master to do digital printing. You can’t have the media without a print. So, this is the print aspect of the ecosystem that we are creating.”
The governor continued: “We have taken the old Nigerian Observer press and we have built it into a world-class sound stage for film and music. The sound stage is being prepared for the Edo film festival which will take place in August.
“We are equipping the studio so that our young people who are into the production of music and movies and don’t have the money to invest in this kind of high-end equipment can always come here to do so. That is where we can energize the already active creative spirit in our young people, particularly in music and movies.