… As NSCDC host maiden edition of Strategic communications, information management conference
By Palma Ileye
Commandant General, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, NSCDC, Dr. Ahmed Abubakar Audi, has tasked Corps on building strategic relationships with citizens to enhance national security as well as create trust in the efforts to safeguard lives and properties.
Audi who gave the charge yesterday during the maiden edition of the NSCDC’s Strategic Communication, Information Management Conference held at its headquarters in Abuja said that the theme; “Managing Strategic Sensitive Conflict Communications Amidst Rising Insecurity For Organisational Development”, could be farther than appropriate as it spoke eloquently to the security challenges of the country.
He said that security challenges were global phenomenon that needed to be tackled to create an enabling environment for socio-economic development noting that insecurity does not only pose threats to the lives and property of citizens but arrest the overall development of a nation.
He said that in recent times, Nigeria has witnessed security challenges such as Boko Haram activities, banditry, kidnapping and Herders-Farmers clashes, frequent assaults to many key national assets and infrastructure, oil bunkering, electrical/communication installations vandalism, stating that all these unwanted scenarios have made National Security threats to become a major issue for the government and has prompted a huge allocation of the national budget to security.
According to him, “the aforementioned scenario is the fuel that inflames the passion for performance for us at the NSCDC and we have been able to prove our mettle with significant results to show from the operational successes of our officers and men.
“This Conference is therefore a very momentous occasion to begin to showcase what the Civil Defence has achieved by better coordinated and well communicated information by our Public Relations Officers.
“It will also address critical issues that will allay our fears, probe our challenges and entrench the ability to create an ambience of peace and security as we move towards the 2023 general elections.
“Historic in the sense that this is the first time since the creation of the NSCDC that we will be having all State Commandants and Public Relations Officers together under one roof for a National Conference.
“However, this is not to say that they have not been undergoing various kinds of training as you may be aware that training and retraining of officers and men of the NSCDC is a top priority for us in this administration.
“Of all the Security Agencies in Nigeria, the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps is the one that enjoys the best support and understanding of the civilian populace the most. I attribute this to a more cordial relationship built over the years by the great efforts of our various State Commandants and Public Relations Officers.
“I say kudos to you all even as I challenge this gathering to step up the tempo of this good public friendly partnership that the Corps enjoys. I charge you to build on the gains of good image the Corps has attained and take it higher.”
He noted that security was not an exclusive prerogative of Security Agencies alone but actually a symbiotic responsibility between security agencies and the civil populace.
The CG explained that “sensitivity is part of security architecture, this conference will further deepen knowledge in the handling of sensitive security information.
The public has the right to know, however, their knowing has to be strategic as well. I expect this conference to dispense enough strategies to all participants for improved operational efficiency going forward.
“It is appropriate and socially imperative for citizens to submit to the State or Government by its commitment to the social contract that exists between it while the State is to take responsibility for the protection of lives and properties of the citizens.
The existence of this contract presupposes the fact that the citizens naturally be involved in the security matters to a reasonable limit.”
He stated that the Corps as a Government Agency meant to serve the public, relied on credible information shared by patriotic community leaders and citizens to prevent crime and manage conflicts.
This Strategic Communication channels the NSCDC boss emphasised on must be improved upon and sustained to allow the public to have confidence in our ability to safeguard their lives and properties.
“It is by so doing that the public will have more trust and confidence in working together with us.
Therefore, it would be socially circumspect to state succinctly that; the security of a nation is a joint task of Government, citizens and to some extent corporate organizations.
“Let us arise from this conference with a strategy of more inclusiveness of the citizens’ participation in the security solutions mix.
This gathering of State Commandants and Public Relations Officers of the Corps therefore is not an effort in futility at all,” he said.
Ahead of the 2023 General Elections, Audi charged the Corps, to equip themselves with strategies and templates that will bring about lasting peace and solutions to insecurity in the country via the NSCDC operations for a free, fair and credible elections.
He enjoined all Nigerian citizens to work in concert with the security agents across board and discard the very insensitive utterances aimed at discrediting the efforts of the Federal Government adding that, “more importantly, politicians should not politicize the security situation in the country, just as the Federal Government resolutely show far more commitment in stepping-up strategies in the fight against terrorism and other crimes in Nigeria.
“This Conference will also be addressing Strategic Conflict Communication that may arise during the forthcoming general elections and other crisis situation with a view to achieving citizens participation in an atmosphere of peace and order.
“May I use this occasion to say that if everyone accounts for every family member and upholds the tenets of moral, religious, cultural, societal, political and traditional values, there would be no terrorists, bandits, robbers, arms smugglers, child traffickers, cattle rustlers, militants, corruption and subsequently, the work of the Government, Military and Security Agencies would be easier.
“Our State Commands should propagate these ideas in all their public communications until we have a peaceful and highly productive country.
It is imperative for all Nigerians to be responsible for the peace, security and development of the country while also imbibing moral, religious and socio-cultural values that would enable everyone to protect the sanctity of human life and remain one’s brothers’ keeper.
“Let me reiterate that the determination to tackle insecurity requires the cooperation of all. Every member of the society has a level of responsibility. Some need to volunteer information, some to provide counseling and some to engage in the theatre of the war itself.
Once absolute peace is restored, the atmosphere would be created for our youth to unleash their creative potentials and the economy would grow at exponential rate.
The conference will also address critical issues that will address security challenges towards creating an ambience of peace and security as we move towards the 2023 general elections.
“There is need to Rejig, Revamp, Rejuvenate, Reposition and Professionalize the practice of Public Relations across all formations of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in tandem with global best practices and the ordinance of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, a statutory body with the responsibility of Coordinating and Regulating Public Relations Practice in Nigeria.
In achieving the purpose of this 3-days Strategic Conference, our Resource Persons are Core Professionals and the topics are well structured to meet the needs of participants and sharpen their skills towards enhancing better service delivery.”
He also commended the State Commandants of the Corps and PROs and resource persons for their resilience and diligence in promoting the image of the Corps in positive light
Also in his opening remark, Director, Public Relations, NSCDC, DCC Olusola Odumosu noted that providing security to the populace was one of the topmost agendas of the present administration, saying that, “though it has never been relegated at any point in time, how we communicate it is what will be seen by the larger public as doing our job efficiently.
Considering the times the we have found ourselves which prompts us to do more in communications side by side with the organization’s essential training regimen.”
Odumosu also stated that a communique was expected to be developed at the end of the Conference which would be forwarded to the Management of the Corps for consideration and possible inclusion in the NSCDC Standard Operating Procedures, SOP.
He expressed gratitude to the NSCDC boss saying, “I know it would not have been possible many years ago to have such a conference where the 36 State Commands of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps including FCT will converge to learn, discuss and proffer new ways of strategically communicating to the public that have high expectations from us.
“However, because the Audi led administration believes that training and re-training of personnel leads to maximum utilization and productivity, the CG’s action plan has engendered series of trainings, seminars, workshops and Conferences.
“It is in the light of this; that I on behalf of my colleagues in the Public Relations Unit of the Corps, thank and commend the Commandant General, for hosting this conference for the first time in the history of the corps.
He implored Stakeholders and Corps, to cross fertilize ideas and learn also, how to effectively communicate to the public in a manner that would bring credibility and maintain the goodwill, in the spirit of nation building.