The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations has reached an advanced stage towards the prosecution of unqualified and fake public relations practitioners in the country.
The President of NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, made the disclosure at press conference on the forthcoming 2019 Annual General Meeting of body in Abuja, with the theme: “Optimizing Public Relations Strategies for National Cohesion.”
Sirajo said the regulatory body had taken some spokespersons and quack image makers, who lack the necessary PR qualification and professional certifications, before the court for bastardising the image of the profession.
The NIPR helmsman noted that the Institute adopted a carrot and stick approach to remedy the desecration and reckless abuse of Nigeria’s PR firmament by persons of other disciplines and professions.
He said: “The Institute is firming up strategies to properly identify its certified members in preparation towards a total crackdown on quacks.
“More codes and identities shall be unveiled and handed over to qualified members at the AGM to further validate their licenses to practice the profession.
“Through the carrot approach, we have been relentlessly in advocating to government, relevant stakeholders and law enforcement agencies to do the right thing.
“Let them ensure that they recruit or appoint persons who are legally certified to practice PR, as their spokespersons.
“As for the stick approach, we have resolved to mercilessly deal with quacks who are masquerading as public relation experts, crisis managers and communication officers.
“We will ensure that fake PR practitioners and unqualified spokespersons are tried in law courts and summarily convicted.
“We would make sure they pay heavy fine or are imprisoned for disparaging the image of our noble profession.”
On the theme of the AGM, Sirajo, said NIPR, as the sole body entrusted with the responsibility of managing reputation, promoting friendship, deepening relationship and regulating activities of Public Relations in the country, is poised to once more lend its professional competence on efforts towards restoring the trajectory of peaceful co-existence in Nigeria.
He remarked that current developments in various aspects of the system are signs of imminent danger that threaten our social co-existence as a people and as a nation, adding: “From politics through security to religion, the sound in the atmosphere is echoes of hatred, war and reckless wastage of human lives.”
He added that in the light of the need for urgent solutions to issues confronting our national integration, the NIPR is convening a National Conference on the theme: “Optimizing Public Relations Strategies for National Cohesion,” stating that Nigeria has come to a point where sustained Public Relations interventions are needed to salvage the situation.
He disclosed that the Institute, in its current resolve to offer real time value to the society, has decided to engage both the government and the governed on critical areas of nation-building.
The NIPR president also expressed displeasure that the recent elections across the country generated a lot of hatred and disunity among Nigerians along the lines of ethnicity, tribe, religion and other factors that have left the country more divided than before.
He emphasised the need to draw the attention of political actors on the dangers of politics of bitterness and hatred that keep undermining the unity, integrity and corporate existence of Nigeria.
Sirajo urged the government to employ services of professionals in handling reputation issues as the current spate of encouraging quackery in the system is totally unacceptable.