By Emmanuel Afonne
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has urged the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to ensure the total elimination of quacks in the profession to enable it to achieve the desired result for which it was established.
Mohammed, represented by Mr Charles Ojugbana, Director, Publication and Documentation in the ministry, made the call on Thursday at the NIPR Annual General Meeting (AGM) held at the International Conference Centre (ICC) Abuja.
He noted that the reason for the urgent elimination of quacks in the Public Relations (PR) profession was to maintain standard just like in other professions.
The minister, who reiterated the importance of PR in the Nigerian polity, assured that the ministry would give the NIPR all the support it needed to achieve the task.
“Ten years ago, many government offices did not have any aspect of their administration specifically carved out for Public Relations, but today we are happy to recognise that even the professional services like the Nigerian Army, Nigerian Navy, Air Force, Customs, Immigration and all other Para-military agencies have found it important that they should have directors in charge of communications.
“On the part of the Ministry of Information and Culture, we have made it mandatory that all information officers under the payroll of the ministry must belong to the NIPR.
“This came about as a result of the memo the honourable minister presented to the National Council on Information three years ago and that memo was approved.
“Additionally, the minister has obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Attorney General of the Federation to have all major ministries create specific department in charge of PR with Directors from our ministries in-charge,” Mohammed said.
The President of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Surajo, said the AGM was coming at a time when the country urgently needed to prepare members on public relations strategies for national cohesion, especially after the hotly contested 2019 general election.
“As an institute, we have noticed with grave concern the degeneration toward the strange culture of hatred, intolerance and disaffection, tending toward the brink of collapse.
“This will cause patriotic minds to ask, what went wrong? What has happened to our once cherished culture of unity?
“From politics through security to religion, the sound in the atmosphere is echoes of hatred, war and reckless wastage of human lives,” Sirajo said.
Bishop Matthew Kukah, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto who was a guest lecturer at the AGM, said leaders of the country urgently needed to properly manage the country’s diversity to guarantee national cohesion.
Kukah lecture centered on the theme of the AGM “Optimising Public Relations Strategies for National Cohesion”,
“If we do not have a clarity of vision as to where we are going, then it will be difficult to attain national cohesion.”
Highpoint of the AGM was the investiture of NIPR President, Malam Mukhtar Surajo as a fellow of the institute.
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