NIPR to Commence Prosecution of Illegal Spokespersons
…. Appoints General Olukolade Chairman of Compliance Panel
The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) has appointed retired General Chris Olukolade as its Chairman Compliance Committee to monitor and initiate prosecutions of uncertified spokespersons who fraudulently claim to be practicing public relations in the country.
The President of NIPR, Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo who made this known at the inauguration of the committee in Abuja said the Institute would pursue and ensure full compliance to its enabling laws.
He said; “We shall add teeth to our enforcement of the provisions of the Act because doing so will help our democracy and support government’s effort at anti-corruption and entrenching respect for the rule of law.
“We solicit support from the Minister of Information to approach the Attorney General of the Federation to constitute the tribunal to check the unwholesome activities of quacks as stipulated in the NIPR Act.”
Also speaking on the inductions of new NIPR members from the Federal Ministry of Information at the occasion, the President said the Institute is willing to deploy its expertise as communication managers to reduce the spate of hate speeches and divisive politics that tend to undermine the core values that unite us as a nation.
He said: “I reasoned that the best way to reduce the fear of marginalization by different segments of our society is to widen the space for dialogue Our establishment of Tonie Iredia led Policy and Strategy Committee which will among other things organise Public Relations Summit which will be a quarterly national platform where issues that are germane to the corporate existence, unity and development of our nation shall be examined dispassionately by notable critical stakeholders with a view to enriching government policies, promote healthy debates and ensure better consensus building.
“One of the reasons why there is more attraction to fake news and hate speeches on social media is the perennial problem of poor management of public communication. The way to change that is to stop putting square pegs in round holes in our choice and appointments of spokespersons, public affairs or communication managers in public and private offices at the Federal, State and Local Government Levels in Nigeria.”
The terms of reference of the Compliance Committee, which has serving and retired officers from security and law enforcement sectors as members is to sensitize the various stakeholders and the general public on the need for full compliance to the NIPR Act and NIPR Bye-law; to facilitate the setting up of the NIPR Tribunal to check the activities of quacks who are practice public relations in Nigeria without proper registration as required by the NIPR Act and to monitor advertisements and recruitments relating to public relations practitioners and call attention of such advertisers to the provision of the NIPR Act.
Others include to monitor the activities of PR practitioners with a view to ensuring that all those who are not registered are made to do so and initiate the prosecution of individuals or corporate bodies operating in violation of the NIPR Act.
The law establishing the NIPR makes it a criminal offence for any individual to practice public relations or spokesperson without the necessary certification and licensing. The law provides for imprisonment, fine, or both.