The three (3) days Strategic Communication Conference for State Commandants, Provosts of Colleges, and Public Relations Officers of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) tagged, “STRACOMM 2022,” which was declared open, by the President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari (GCFR), ably represented by the Special Assistant, Media, and Publicity to the President, Mr. Femi Adesina on Wednesday 2nd of November, 2022 has come to an end.
The conference was declared close by the Commandant General, NSCDC, Ahmed Abubakar Audi, Ph.D., MNI, OFR, on Friday 4th November, at the Corps’ National Headquarters, Abuja and it was rightly targeted at the various gatekeepers and stakeholders of the Corps across the 36 State Commands and FCT for improved service delivery.
The workshop witnessed a galaxy of resource persons who are core media professionals, image merchants, and from the academia such as Mr. Azu Ishiekwene, Editor in Chief/ Senior Vice Chairman, Leadership Group Limited, Alh. Yusuf Alli, Managing Editor, Northern Operations, the Nation Newspaper, Mr. Iyobosa Uwugiaren, Secretary General, Nigerian Guild of Editors/Bureau Chief, This Day Newspaper, Mallam Yushau Shuaibu, Chief Executive Officer, Image Merchants Promotions Limited and Publishers of News release platforms PRNigeria, Economic Confidential Magazine, and Emergency Digest.
Others are Hammed Abodunrin, Ph.D., former Ondo State Commandant, currently undergoing Senior Executive Course at the Nigerian Army War College, Abuja, and Dr. G.T Joseph, an erudite scholar, author of many books, and a senior officer of the Corps.
Arising from the conference after intensive 3 days of deliberations, all-inclusive brainstorming sessions, and cross-fertilization of ideas among participants, a communique was developed to beckon a new era of strategic communications in the NSCDC’s operations and relations with the media and the public.
According to the communique, policy frameworks were developed and proposed to the Management for adoption in the Corps’ Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
According to the Communique, the Corps is to “Expand its Crisis Management Communication Plan (CMCP) by emplacing crisis communication strategies that will enable seamless communication between the Corps, the general public and media during a crisis, disasters, floodings, breakdown of law and order, electoral violence or crisis, banditry, kidnapping, attacks on Critical National Assets and Infrastructure and many other acts of Infringement on the law.
The goal is to enable the Corps effectively prepare for a potential crisis by developing and implementing contingency plans for crisis response mechanisms. The CMCP would among other things help the Corps in the management of crisis and disaster by feeling the early warning signs and alerting the public immediately, against the aftermaths and the need to take necessary precautions and devise means of coming out of the situation whilst deciding on next course of action.
In view of the forthcoming 2023 general election, the top officers resolve that “The Corps should adopt the non-kinetic strategy to proffer lasting solutions to vote buying, political thuggery, incitement of violence, hate speeches and so on during the forthcoming 2023 general elections via improved communication, information dissemination, interactions and education of the general public through mass media enlightenment and stakeholders’ engagement on national development and election security.
The Commandants agreed unanimously that as the decider of the future of the country, the 2023 general election must be conducted hitch-free whether the enemies like it or not, and therefore sensitive and nonsensitive election materials, INEC officials, and properties must be guarded jealously against attacks, sabotage or any form of manipulations or malpractices.
They vowed to deal decisively with anyone attempting to truncate the election process by arresting and promptly prosecuting all electoral offenders before, during, and after the elections to serve as a deterrent to other miscreants and hoodlums.
In light of President Muhamadu Buhari’s reaffirmation of improved security in recent times through concerted efforts of government security forces in fiercely combating and degrading bandits, terrorists, and other criminal elements in the country which is yielding positive results, participants adopted that a more effective inter-agency collaboration and synergy through collective efforts, information sharing and trust among security and law enforcement agencies could provide the much-needed antidote to completely decimate and annihilate these criminals causing troubles in the country.
The CG, who spoke through the Assistant Commandant General (ACG) in charge of Training and manpower development, Abi David, FSI, therefore charged State Commandants and all Public Relations Officers of the Corps to work closely with their various counterparts in security operations and other national assignments like the coming 2023 general elections, which must be conducted freely and fairly to usher in a new dispensation under a peaceful atmosphere without chaos, violence or rancour.
The conference provided other opportunities to review performances in other mandates of the Corps such as the private guard’s industry and Dr. Audi, addressed the need to sanitise the sector in order to block the possibilities of infiltration by criminals if not properly regulated.
He advised on the need for protection of critical national assets and infrastructure in the nation from being vandalized by criminal elements especially the Oil facilities which are currently causing fuel scarcity that is biting hard on the people in some parts of the country.
The CG advised participants to take the lessons learned, the skills acquired and the knowledge gained in the Conference to transform their formations for the growth and development of the Corps, promising to continue with training as a matter of policy to continue developing manpower for organizational growth.
The NSCDC Director of Public Relations, DCC Olusola Odumosu, appreciates the Commandant General for the approval to organise the Conference, the entire management and staff of the Corps for their support and cooperation towards the success of the program which is the first of its kind in the history of the Corps where State Commandants and their respective Public Relations Officers would come together under one roof to brainstorm on the possible ways of moving the Corps forward.
“State PROs are now rejigged and more motivated than ever before to deliver on their assigned duties, the CG has assured all of us of better working conditions and we have the support of State Commandants to implement all that was agreed upon for organizational development,” he said.
The high point of the ceremony is the Special Leadership Style Award given to the CG, three (3) former State Commandants, 6 State Command PROs, and 2 National Headquarters Public Relations staff also bagged outstanding Awards.
Certificate of participation was issued to all participants at the end of the Conference and the CG capped it all by giving one laptop each to all 37 Public Relations Officers to enhance their performances in this era of digital media.
The opening ceremony of the conference witnessed the presence of giants and professionals in the Media and Public Relations sector such as Brigadier General Sanni K. Usman, MNI (Rtd), Peter Afunanya Ph.D., FSI, Spokesperson of the Department of State Services, Mr. Mukhtar Sirajo, National President Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and Mr. Odion Bello, ace broadcaster and Chief Executive of Clearview Television.
Others include the Assistant Corps Marshal Bisi Kazeem, Public Education Officer, Federal Road Safety Corps, representative of the Director of Defence Information, representative of Director Army Public Relations, representative of Director of Public Relations, Nigerian Navy, Azuka Ogugua, PRO Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences (ICPC), PRO Nigeria Correctional Service, PRO Federal Fire Service amongst others.