From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Keffi

Acting Vice-Chancellor, Nasarawa State University, Keffi (NSUK), Abdullahi Modibbo, has urged the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) to take action against institutions employing unqualified individuals as spokespersons.

He made the call at the induction of 47 new members into the NIPR and opening of the 5th annual International Conference on Communication and Development in Africa, organised by the Institute of Strategic and Development Communication (ISDEVCOM) of NSUK with the theme: “Communication, Climate Change and Resilience in Africa.”

Modibbo emphasised the importance of all practitioners registering with the institute to uphold professional standards in the field, describing the fishing out of those he referred to as quacks as a good omen for the profession. Individuals who are not registered with the institute, he said, should not serve as spokespersons.

President of NIPR, Ike Neliaku, had earlier in his remark, said that any public relations practitioner not registered with the institute was a quack “no matter his or her position, and regardless of his or her level of education or training.”

He urged communicators to sign up for registration to equip themselves with the necessary tools to combat the surge of misinformation and falsehoods that have become prevalent, particularly on social media platforms.

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Minister of Information and National Orientation, Idris Mohammed,  who was represented by Director-General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Salihu Dambos, at the opening ceremony of the conference said: “everybody needs some level of training in order to communicate properly and NIPR is doing well in that respect by ensuring their members are inducted and receive certain training before they practice.

“Proper and timely dissemination of information about climate change will help people to seek out proactive measures. This conference is coming at a crucial time in our nation’s history as we face the challenges posed by climate change and the urgent need to build resilience in our communities.”

Managing Director, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Ali Mohammed Ali, who also spoke at the event, said timely communication on climate change would help guard against global warming and other related problems.

Director-General, Voice of Nigeria (VON), Jibrin Ndache, on his part, urged journalists to become members of NIPR from day one of practice, describing journalism as the key ingredient in the practice of public relations.

Governor of Nasarawa State, Abdullahi Sule, who was represented by his Special Assistant on Strategic Communication, Yakubu Lamai, assured of support to all partners interested in the development of the state.