The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called on the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), as a stakeholder on national issues, to speak out against those fanning the embers of disunity and discord in the country.
The Minister made the call in Abuja on Monday when he received the President of NIPR, Mr. Muktar Sirajo and other members of the Governing Council on a courtesy visit to his office, ahead of the Institute’s Annual General Meeting in Bauchi on 20 May 2021.
“Each of us in our respective positions has a role to play to tone down the rhetoric and reduce the tension (in the polity), and I am glad that NIPR is lending its platform to work with the government to ensure that we have a country, which is peaceful and which is secured.
“Without security there can be no development and that’s why this administration is doing everything possible to return peace and security across the country. This is where I think you can come in as a body of NIPR that we must put the nation first,” he said.
Alhaji Mohammed welcomed the NIPR’s offer to make available its platform for a national engagement on national unity, peace and security, saying this falls into the template of the town hall meetings on topical issues, which have been institutionalized by the Federal Government.
He also urged the NIPR to join the federal government in the fight against fake news, saying the NIPR needs to rein in members who always throw professional ethics to the wind for pecuniary gains in order to advance fake narratives.
“You have a powerful platform to actually ensure that the menace of fake news is confronted squarely. Regrettably, however, members of the Institute have been found waiting. They most times place pecuniary interests and motives above professional ethics and patriotism.
“If you recall the sad incident of the P&ID saga, it was a member of this Institute, a firm of Public Relations Consultants, which was hired to give the impression to the world that Nigeria indeed entered into an agreement with P&ID and actually reneged, and as such Nigeria should pay over US$9 billion. It took this Ministry and others to go to the UK to actually change the narratives,” the Minister said.
In his remarks, the President of NIPR, Mr. Sirajo, decried the politicization of the security situation in the country by politicians, saying the issue of security is beyond politics.
He said the NIPR is ready to provide a platform for national dialogue on peace and security in order to secure a consensus on the unity of the country.
Special Assistant To The President (Media)
Office of the Minister of Information and Culture
17 May 2021