REMARKS BY THE PERMANENT SECRETARY, FEDERAL MINISTRY OF INFORMATION AND CULTURE, DR. MRS. IFEOMA .A. ANYANWUTAKU ON THE OCASSION OF HER INUAGURAL MEETING WITH THE RESIDENT INFORMATION OFFICERS (RIOs) HELD AT THE NATIONAL PRESS CENTRE, RADIO HOUSE, ABUJA ON 20TH APRIL 2021.
I am pleased to welcome you all to this my inaugural meeting with our Resident Information Officers (RIOs). I consider this meeting very important, as it will afford us the needed platform to be acquainted with one another and discuss the best ways to advance the course of the Ministry in delivering on its mandate to the Nigerian people.
2. As you are aware, the role of Information officers posted to the various Ministries, Department and Agencies is to project, promote and manage the image and reputation of the Culture of the people and Government of Nigeria by effectively communicating government activities and plans to Nigerians and the outside World. This is your role and you are all doing your beat, but there is, of course, room for improvement.
3. It is therefore against this background, that I wish to use this medium to appreciate the commitment and good work most of you have done and are still doing at your various MDAs of postings, in ensuring that the Nigerian people are informed of the plans and programmes of Government. You are indeed worthy Ambassadors of this Ministry. I am also aware that most of you have performed your duties creditably, irrespective of challenges of lack of proper budget line for the Press and Public Relations Departments/Units in some of the Ministries/ Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of your postings, lack of due recognition by some Chief Executives as well as undue interferences by some Special Assistants. Let me assure you that the Ministry is doing something about it. We are engaging with the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation to address these and hopefully, they would be history, God willing.
4. Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen, our Country is indeed facing challenging and difficult times, marked by high level of insecurity orchestrated by the Boko Haram insurgency, banditry, ethno-religious clashes and intolerance, cultism, drug addiction and kidnapping for ransom and a host of others. These crimes now threaten the unity and the continued existence of the nation and every rational Nigerian be concerned. I believe that information holds the keys to addressing this myriad of challenges. There is therefore the need for Information Officers, particularly the RIOs to brace up and confront these problems headlong by evolving more proactive communication approaches that will ensure that timely and truthful information is made available to Nigerians.
5. As Information managers, you must effectively utilize all the available platforms of the Ministry to actualize our ministerial mandate as the world looks unto us for this. It has become critical for all Directors/ Heads of Press and Public Relations Unit in the various MDAs to send in the report of all activities and programmes in their MDAs in a timely manner. Press releases must meet up with established international norms. In this era of virtual world, many more people are relying on the internet and other social media platforms for their information needs; hence, the Ministry’s website and social media handles MUST remain updated with current news items. We must remain the Country’s authentic voice for all information related government plans and programmes. You are all professionals in your own right and I have no doubt in my mind that together we can achieve this.
6. In view, the above responsibilities placed on your shoulders, I believe this meeting will provide you with the opportunity to openly discuss your challenges and chart a way forward on how we can better actualize Nigerian’s expectations of us, as a Ministry. I therefore encourage you all to effectively utilize it.
7. Let me also seize this medium to underscore that the Ministry under my watch will not tolerate any acts of insubordination or indiscipline under any guise. It has come to my knowledge that some RIOs refuse postings at the expiration of their tenures. Some even, fight and others abscond from duty. This is not acceptable and must stop henceforth. The beauty of the pool system in the Civil Service is such that it affords you the opportunity of garnering experience and enlarging your networks. You must, therefore, count yourselves very fortunate to belong to this Cadre. Let me reiterate that once you have stayed three years (3 years) on a post you become due for posting and you must leave when you are posted. However, there could be cases whereby an officer may not have stayed up to the required number of years and the officer is posted. Such postings are done in public interest, and are certainly, exceptions to the rule.
8. Finally, I wish to assure you of my undivided commitment and attention to the mandate of the Ministry and to all who are committed to helping us fulfill this role to the Nigerian people. My doors are open to listen to your concerns and suggestions and I am equally certain that the Director PC&NO, Mrs. Priscillia Ihuoma, is also open to discuss your problems.
9. I look forward to having a fruitful and rewarding interaction with you.
Thank you for your Attention.