Stakeholders have canvassed for effective use of public relations in communicating and promoting national peace processes as part of strategies to improve security in the country.
This was the thrust at the 7th Lagos Public Relations Stakeholders Conference, a web edition, themed: “Adopting Proper Communication Strategy, Channels and Technology for National Peace and Stability in Nigeria”, held on Thursday, August 27, 2020.
Speaking, the Programme Specialist, Women, Peace & Security at UN Women, Peter Mancha noted that, though women bear the brunt of major conflicts across the country, but they are largely excluded in the peacebuilding processes.
Mancha said the peace architecture in Nigeria must integrate strategic mechanisms to enhance effective & efficient communications system with stakeholders, urging that the traditional platforms and new media technologies both be fully utilized for conflict prevention, including early warning and early response systems.
He submitted that “Coordination among state and non-state actors through synergy and effective communication is key; traditional/religious Institutions, women networks and CSOs are critical stakeholders in the peacebuilding process; Civil-Military Relations need to be strengthened, confidence building among the public to enhance dissemination of information; the Social Media, despite the challenges of access and poor information management, remains an important instrument in peace building because of its capacity to inform and promote inclusion in the peace building process.”
Other speakers at the event included the President and Chairman of Council, Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Mukhtar Sirajo; President Africa Public Relations Association, Yomi Badejo-Okusanya; Chief Executive Officer, Image Merchants Promotion Limited, Yushau Shuaib; Lead Consultant, NECCI Ltd, Nkechi Ali-Balogun and Chief Executive, Goldwater & RiverSand Consult, Captain Aliyu U. Babangida (Rtd).
Muktar Sirajo noted that, “Public relations or communication provide a platform for a peaceful and harmonious existence among the people, given its core role of relationship building and relationship mending, where it cracks.”
He added that the “Nigerian Public Relations family is available to play the leading role expected of it in bringing our people together to harness our God-endowed diversity for the pursuit of the common good.”
Yushau Shuaib highlighted the roles of communicators in crisis management and advised communicators to play a leading role in promoting peace, security, stability, and good governance as well as in the settlements of disputes.
He added that the government, partners, and security services can capitalize on modern communication tools, especially social media to manage the narratives in the battle of ideas to enhance intelligence gathering and promote peace through efficient and effective communication delivery.
Yomi Badejo-Okusanya called on public relations professional to lead the narrative for national peace and security in the country.
According to him, “Public Relations is the missing link in achieving peace and security in the country.”
Aliyu Babangida, observed that proper security communication is absent in the country.
He averred that the flow of communication is not effective and that there is a need for the people to have confidence in the system.
The Convener of the event and Lead Consultant Addefort Limited, Olabamiji Adeleye, explained that the Conference has been consistent in actualizing its set vision; “To be a bridge-building talker-shop for stakeholders to interact, discuss and proffer solutions to the social, political and economic challenges plaguing our nation. The focus this year is on national peace and securityy because nothing meaningful can be achieved in an atmosphere of public unrest and anarchy.”
The conference is organized by Addefort Limited in collaboration with the Lagos State Chapter of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, and Peace and Conflict Resolution Center (PEACrEc).