NATIONAL SECURITY: NUJ, NIPR partner to eliminate quackery, strengthen professionalism

…. threatens to publish names of quack spokespersons

Òsárétín Òsádébàmwén

National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Comrade Christopher Isiguzo and the President, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Muhktar Sirajo, said both associations must collaborate to stamp out quacks in the professions with a view to promote professionalism that would benefit Nigeria.

The duo said with the prevailing situation in the country, Nigeria would need professionals in perception management to be able to keep the country united while the facts are promoted.

They said this on Wednesday, when the latter paid a courtesy call to the President of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Chris Isiguzo and lamented the many unethical and unprofessional conducts of journalists and the public relations persons, exposing their lack of capacity for their respective roles to build the society.

The National President of NIPR, Mukhtar Sirajo said his mission to the National Headquarters of the Union was to canvass for support and partnership to fight unprofessionalism and birth a new narrative of perception on the Nigerian state.

He pointed out that the NIPR may be forced to publish names of non members who are doing the job illegally where they fail to respond to the opportunity the association has created for them to regularize their membership and gain sound professional training.

According to Sirajo: “We have taken our advocacy to various agencies and various governmental spokespeople, who by law are not qualified to practice the profession.

“We have tried to reach out to them, letting them know that we are not out to embarrass anybody but if it gets to that we have a job to do.

“We’re going to have to do it but then as relationship builders we have to ensure that we will do all that we can not to rupture the relationship except if it becomes inevitably necessary,” Sirajo stated.

He continued that “I want to say here that we have already compiled a very long list of people that are not practicing public relations in Nigeria by law and the names are going to interest Nigerians

“We will not be able to get them jailed or fined or punished. But we believe if we publish the names in the newspapers, it will go on record that yes, there are the facts of their statuses with regard to the profession even if that is all we can do for now. He told the NUJ President.

He said this development called for collaboration as both professionals are related especially, in their tasks, therefore, the need to sanitize the profession was critical.

President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists Christopher Isiguzo said the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) has began the process by setting up mechanism at the various councils across the country to combat and weed out these quacks.

He said the move has informed the legislative effort of the Journalist Enhancement Bill to protect the journalists.

He said: “We are doing a whole lot. I can assure you that with you joining us, I want to believe that we’re gonna achieve something better. It is so sad like you have lamented that you have some spokespersons of very important institutions that are quacks going by the established law guiding the institute.

“It is also sad that you have a system where people are appointed into media related organizations and they don’t have anything to do with the media.

“Just because they have enjoyed the full dosage of media support at one point or the other. You churn out press statements, and become so popular in the media.

“At some points in Nigeria’s history, pharmacists were appointed Minister of Information. And I can assure you that there is no way any of us (media men) will be appointed Minister of Health or Attorney General of the Federation, and Minister of Justice. These are special areas and that same special status ought to be accorded to the media.

“There is no way a Minister of Information will not be a media practitioner, Chief press secretary to a governor, media advisor, so many people whenever it comes to media, people are scrambling to handle it.

“It is so bad that even if you look through the political parties, you see their spokespersons in most cases, engineers, lawyers, doctors, and what have you and we are so comfortable with that we’re living with it.”

“It going to be a holistic effort that we must be and begin to canvass same. So that when you go to for instance, that executive council of federal executive council or whatever name it is called. Every one of us will be represented by the time you have an engineer representing the media, It simply means the media is completely shut out. That is a problem.

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