- The Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar has charged Public Relations Officers and information officers of Military, security and response Agencies in the country to manage sensitive information with all sense of patriotism.
Sadique made the charge at a two days seminar on media engagement in crisis situation for military, security and response Agencies in Nigeria organised by the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) in Bauchi with the theme titled, “Enhancing the Capacity of Public Relations and Information Officers in Addressing Crisis Situations.”
Air Marshal Abubakar who was represented by Chief of Administration Airforce Headquarters, Air Vice Marshal Augustine Ajibola Jekenu urged them to relate professionally with the media and the general public, adding that the way and manner they handle information could either calm frayed nerves or compound the situation.
He said: “As information officers from the security and response agencies, you must bear in mind that our country is currently confronted with challenges such as Boko Haram terrorism and other forms of criminality which demand that you exercise a high level of professionalism in the way and manner information about them is disseminated.
“We are all witnesses to crisis of various dimensions ranging from terrorism to kidnappings, armed banditry, cattle rustling, farmers-herdsmen clashes, pipeline vandalism and ritual killings among others which currently pose a challenge to security agencies in our country.”
Sadique stressed that as custodians of information, the spokespersons have a onerous task of ensuring that conflict or potential situation are effectively prevented or mitigated through professional handling of information.
Earlier Speaking, the Executive Secretary Centre for Crisis Communication Air Commodore Yusuf Anas Rtd said the theme was carefully chosen bearing in mind the important service delivery roles the organizations participating in this seminar offer on a daily basis to Nigerians.
“It aims to develop efficient and responsive cadre of public relations and information officers who will be better equipped to carry out the responsibility of managing sensitive crisis information”
Anas pointed out that the Centre for Crisis Communication, believe that given the interconnectedness between effective communication and a successful crisis management, it is pertinent to continuously build the capacity of information officers to be able to handle sensitive crisis information at their disposal most professionally.
“Tied to this is the need to encourage synergy among agencies through harmonisation of information and constructive engagement with the media.
He however said that there is now better collaboration of information released to the media to inform the public by the agencies thereby greatly reducing the incidence of conflicting information during crisis situations. He nevertheless insisted that there was still the need to enhance communication to the Nigerians in responsible and timely manner.