The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) has pledged to work the NSCDC in strategic communications to help tackle insecurity, conflict and corruption in the country.
This statement was made by the Spokesperson of the Commission, Mrs. Azuka Ogugua, fnipr, while delivering a goodwill message at the opening ceremony of a 3 – day Communication Conference of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) themed ‘Managing Sensitive Conflict Communication Amidst Rising Insecurity for Organisational Development’ which kicked off at the National Headquarters, in Sauka, Abuja.
Conveying the greetings of the ICPC Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, OFR to the gathering, she quoted him to have said that “the problem of insecurity facing Nigeria is triggered by high level of corruption, and there is a critical link between corruption and insecurity, with grave consequences if not handled properly.”
Mrs Ogugua further stated that insecurity, conflict and terrorism are fueled by misinformation, disinformation and propaganda and so government agencies should master the art of proactive and strategic communication to counter the negative narratives and engender the support of the public.
She advocated a whole-of-government approach (that is the coordinated and collaborative efforts of all government MDAs working together) to effectively manage communication and curb the menace.
Delivering a keynote address at the event, the Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, mni, OFR stressed the importance of strategic communication in the battle against insecurity in the nation and explained that communication must be planned and deliberate to ensure that Nigerian citizens are not misinformed as false information on insecurity is often used to create unrest and manipulate citizens into losing faith in security agencies.
He also emphasized that the security of the nation is not an exclusive responsibility of security agencies but rather a collective effort that should be inclusive of the civil populace.
In his words, “the Corps as a government agency meant to serve the public, relies on credible information by patriotic community leaders and citizens to prevent crime and manage conflicts. Strategic communication channels must be improved upon and sustained to allow the public to have confidence in our ability to safeguard their lives and properties. It is by so doing that the public will have more trust and confidence in working together with us”
He however urged that caution and sensitivity should be exercised in the communication process between the public and security agencies as operational efficiency is paramount to curbing insecurity.
Commandant General Audi enjoined Nigerian citizens to work with security agencies to uphold socio-cultural values in the community and encouraged state commands to uphold a healthy communication policy in their region to achieve peace and productivity.
Earlier, while welcoming participants, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the NSCDC, DCC Olusola Odumoso, stated that the theme was carefully selected to reflect the current security temperature of Nigeria.
He added that the primary mandate of NSCDC is to protect citizens lives and properties and it therefore becomes imperative that a stable channel of communication is established between security agencies and the civil public to ensure the fulfilment of this purpose.
The Special Adviser to President Muhammadu Buhari on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, OON, while declaring the event open, stated that the challenge of insecurity is not “rising” but under control. He urged NSCDC to keep communication doors open with the traditional and social media, synergize with other security agencies, and do everything possible to get the confidence of the public.
The opening ceremony was graced by the presence of representatives of numerous stakeholders in the communication and security sector amongst whom were the president of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Mr Mukhtar Zubairu Sirajo, fnipr, Brig. Gen. SK Usman (rtd), spokesperson of the Nigerian Army Resource Centre, and spokespersons of security agencies such as the Department of State Security (DSS), Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Nigerian Correctional Service, Federal Fire Service, etc. as well as media and public relations experts across the country.