Stakeholders in the Public Relations clime have identified effective and strategic communication as major tools to combat insecurity in Nigeria.
The National President of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Malam Sirajo Mukhtar Zubairu on Saturday stated that effective communication remains a major tool to conquer the spate of terrorism, insurgency and other security challenges facing Nigeria.
Sirajo who spoke during a Panel Discussion on “Nigeria Security Challenges:the PR Solutions,” organized in honour of a Dinner by the graduating Masters in Public Relations (MPR) Class of 2018/2019 session of Bayero University Kano (BUK), held at the Palace Chinese Restaurant, advised Public Relations practitioners to “intellectualize” their approach while handling issues that has to do with security challenges and crisis managment.
According to him, military might alone cannot subdue security challenges, particularly, the issue of Boko Haram which is ideology-based.
The Public Relations guru, further stressed the need of using effective and strategic communication skills to deflate ideology of insurgents so as to block them from brainwashing the people.
Also speaking, the immediate-past spokesman of the Nigeria Army, Brigadier General Sani Kukasheka Usman (rtd), insisted that contrary to the Boko Haram claims of fighting for Islam, they remain nothing but, “criminals, rapists and murders.”
He recalled how he used strategic communication skills in countering Boko Haram narratives, while he was the spokesman of the Nigeria Army, affirming that the knowledge he acquired from BUK, gave him the leverage to serve Nigeria and the Nigeria Army to the best of his ability.
In his remarks, Prof. Umaru Pate of Faculty of Communications, BUK, urged Public Relations practitioners to always take into cognizance the divergent cultural, religious, social and ethnic backgrounds of Nigerians, while carrying out their duties.
Moreso, Assistant Commissioner of Police cum Public Relations guru, Baba Mohammed called on the Public Relations practitioners within the security circle to always strive to be ahead of criminals in terms of upgrading their knowledge of the Social Media.
According to him, “kidnapping has becoming the worsening security challenge in Nigeria today,” adding that kidnappers, insurgents and other hoodlums now took to the Social Media to perpetrate their nefarious activities.
He noted that criminals and insurgents have resorted to using Social Media platforms to recruit members, thereby the need for PR practitioners to do remain conversant and active in the use of Social Media platforms to perform their duties.
In his welcome address, the chairman, Organizing Committee of the Dinner, Mohammed Baba Kandi, appealed to NIPR to grant 50 percent discount charges for MPR graduates who wish to join the Institute.
According to him, “my prayer, which is in tandem with the overall desire of the entire MPR class of 2019, is that for this set of students and those who will come behind it will get at least 50% discounts on all the fees or charges that will be required from moment they obtain a form up to the induction stage of all admitted members of the NIPR.
This will definitely help in the membership drive of the institute as it would also boost the Masters in Public Relations program which was jointly initiated by Bayero University, Kano and the NIPR. Sir, please consider this particular prayer as a fervent request from all of us and I urge that you use your good office to grant this passionate appeal.”