NIPR Clampdowns on Unprofessional Spokespersons in Nigeria
… Says governments, private entities guilty
The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations NIPR, said it would soon commence legal action against both public and private organizations who fail to appoint public relations professionals as spokespersons.
In a press release by the Institute’s FCT Chapter Spokesman, Mr. Stanley Ogadigo, in Abuja today, NIPR President, Mr. Muhktar Sirajo, said the law establishing the NIPR makes it a criminal offence for any individual to practice public relations without the necessary certification and licensing.
“There is laid down rules about appointing spokespersons. The law establishing NIPR makes it a criminal offence for anybody to practice Public Relations by whatever name without certification or licensed by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, NIPR. There are set parameters of knowledge you need to acquire before you can practice Public Relations.”
Muhktar disclosed that the NIPR Act stipulates punishment for illegal practice. “The law actually provides for imprisonment, fine, or both”.
The President pointed out that government’s continuous patronage of quacks as reputation managers of Institutions has remained a major challenge and a breach of own law.
“Unfortunately, the government too does not come clean in respect of this.
Most of the people government appoints to be spokespersons are in violation of this very important creed (law). The government is either unaware of, or has forgotten that there is a law that says you cannot practice Public Relations, PR, without license from the NIPR. In essence, the government too cannot appoint a spokesperson if that person is not licensed by the NIPR”.
He expressed satisfaction with the progress being made in the fight against quackery and hinted that the Institute shall soon conclude arrangement with the necessary law enforcement authorities for proper prosecution of offenders.
“We have sought audience with the Attorney General of the Federation, because part of the provisions of the law is that, the Attorney General is supposed to establish a tribunal that is to try and punish people found to be practicing PR without licensing from the NIPR.”
The NIPR boss informed that the Institute as a responsible body has designed a professional training programme called Master Class as alternative for those practicing Public Relations without certification to regularize their membership with the Institute.
“The NIPR leadership in its wisdom introduced Master Class programme, a window of opportunity for people who have been practicing PR for minimum of five years without licensing as part of measures to ensure that those holding executive and other high-profile positions in both public and private sectors do not end up being embarrassed when the hammer falls.”
The President, who noted that the Institute is not interested in embarrassing anybody called on individuals and organizations to leverage on the opportunity offered by the Institute through the Master Class training programme to regularize their membership.
He stated that NIPR was not a union or an association, but a chartered institute, which is a creation of the law, and would not hesitate to clampdown on any individual or organization that flout its laws.
According to him, part of the provisions of the NIPR law, apart from mandating it to set parameters of knowledge to be acquired to practice the profession, also empowered it to license practitioners.
Mukhtar said there was need for government and other stakeholders to realize the dangers of violating the NIPR Act, noting that if the current trend of engaging non professionals is not checked, the country will keep drifting.
“We are educating, enlightening and making advocacy visits to let the people especially those that matter to know that they are further killing the system by compromising professionalism, and as long as square pegs are not put in square holes, we will continue to have this and even worse problems.”
Public Relations Officer
Nigerian Institute of Public Relations
NIPR – Professionalism & Excellence