The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has called on the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations to rid the institute of quacks in order for standards to be maintained like in other professions.
Represented by Charles Ojugbana, Director, Publication and Documentation, Ministry of Information, the minister spoke at the 2019 Annual Conference of the Institute in Abuja on Thursday.
The Minister noted that the institute needed to work hard and ensure the total elimination of quackery from the profession and other relevant professional bodies.
He said: “Like other professions, there is the need to maintain standard and the ministry will be ready to stand with you to ensure this is done within the shortest time possible.
“The profession and institute has grown to heights that everyone is appreciative of.”
The minister recalled that 10 years ago many government institutions did not have any aspect of their organsiation specifically caved out for public relations.
He said: “But today, we are happy to recognise that even the professional service like the Nigerian Army, Navy, Air force, Customs and Immigration and other para-military organisations have directors specifically in charge of public relations.
“We have made it mandatory for all information officers under the ministry to belong to the NIPR.
“We have also sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari that all major ministries must create specifically department of public relations with a directors in the ministry as the head.”
Mohammed added that in 2018, the ministry resurrected the flagship publication of the Nigerian Monthly Magazine which could be read online in nine international languages and three major Nigerian languages of Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba.
The Minster said the languages include: Portuguese, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, French and English.
He urged the participants to maintain professionalism and abide by the ethics of the profession.
The NIPR President, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo, said the institute had intensified the fight against quackery in the profession.
Sirajo said the institute had also activated the process of getting the Attorney-General of the Federation to constitute a tribunal to try interlopers.
He said: “The tribunal will try interlopers that have failed to comply with the legal requirements that anyone gainfully employed in the areas of public relations must be certified by the NIPR.
“There is no more room for quackery; NIPR has provided the opportunity for people who wish to be on the right side of the law by properly registering as members of the institute through its master class series.”
The President said the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation had once again requested for a comprehensive memorandum on the subject matter for consideration at the next National Council of Establishment meeting.
He said: “I appeal to the National Council of Establishment to expedite action on this matter as it is in the interest of the nation.”
He urged the professionals not to leave the task of moving the profession forward in the hands of the council, secretariat or President alone, but for all professionals to play their role.
He said: “We all have a responsibility to play, once we come together with single minded determination even the impossible will be accomplished.”
News Agency of Nigeria reports that the theme of the conference is: “Optimizing Public Relations Strategies for National Cohesion”.