The Controller General of Nigerian Prison Service (NPS) Ja’afaru Ahmed has directed State Command Officers of the Service to establish and sustain a mutual relationship with the media if they must succeed in their assignments.
CGP Ahmed gave the directive at the end of a two-day seminar jointly organised by the NPS and the Centre for Crisis Communication (CCC) for Command Officers in Abuja.
He said that henceforth the Command Controllers and their respective public relations officers would be responsible for information dissemination and crisis management in their catchment areas.
“With the training programmes organised for Controllers and Information officers on Public Relations, you are now responsible for information and crisis management in your areas and you would be held accountable for any untoward behaviours in your states,” he said.
While lamenting that only negative stories about the Service were being reported in the media, the Prison boss said the achievements of the organisation were not making the news.
“Beyond working hard to meet the high demands of our core mandate which is primarily providing safe and humane custody, as well as behavioral change among offenders committed to our care, we also have a duty to actively engage the media as critical stakeholders in the discharge of our statutory responsibilities,” he noted.
CGP Ahmed who stressed that the intricacies of managing narratives reaching the public were issues not to be handled loosely, expressed optimism that the officers would have improved their skills in managing media issues at the end of the seminar.
Speaking earlier, the Executive Secretary of CCC, Air Commodore Yusuf Anas (Rtd) said it was pertinent to continue building the capacity of command officers to be able to effectively engage the media.
“This is important because every officer in the state command must understand the need to at all times, utilize the instrumentality of the media to up-build and uphold the good image of the service…”
The Centre for Crisis Communication has trained over 170 personnel of the NPS including the Controllers and Public Relations Officers on various communication modules. The Centre has also trained over 200 other officers in the military, security, intelligence and response agencies in 2016.