By Azeez Disu
In its bid to get rid of quacks practicing public relations in the country without license from the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), the institute has revealed that it will publish in the Newspapers the list of people practicing public relations illegally.
Mallam Mukhtar Sirajo, President, Chairman of Council, NIPR, made the disclosure at the NIPR Annual Conference/ Annual General Meeting (AGM) tagged “Abuja 2019” held at the International Conference Centre in Abuja, Federal Capital Territory on Thursday with the theme “Optimizing Public Relations Strategies for National Cohesion.”
He said, “We are already compiling the list of people who are practicing public relations without license from top to bottom, and very soon we are going to publish their names in the newspapers. To embarrass them and for the world to know them.”
Asides this move, the institute has established what it considers a very powerful and serious Committee on Compliance headed by a retired General of the Nigerian Army and a Fellow of the Institute, to be assisted by a serving Commissioner of Police.
Sirajo said that the act of not registering is a criminal offence under its law “It is clearly illegal as per our status, the law that set up NIPR makes it a criminal offence for anybody to practice public relations without licensing by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations.
“So, government too is complacent in this, not only in the hiring of foreign public relations expert but even in the hiring of Nigerians who are not qualified to practice public relations by the law. Most of the people that you hear speaking for this governor, speaking for that ministers, speaking for ministries and speaking for that corporate organisations, a lot of them are not members of NIPR and in the eye of the law they are committing crime.
“The institute itself perhaps needed to have done what we are doing now a lot earlier, the advocacy, the dangling of the carrot and stick. What is the carrot and stick? Appealing to people to come and be on the good side of the law, by registering with the institute, you don’t just come and we register you, we train you before you are registered.
“We give opportunities for executives who have been practicing without licensing, regularise by organising Master class series within which we subject them to intensive crash programmes of about a week and at the end and when we are satisfied in addition to their experience, we certify them.”
In addition, he stated that the institute will work with Attorney General of the Federation to ensure that people caught practicing public relations without license will be sanctioned.
“An aspect of the law says the Attorney General of the Federation is supposed to set up a tribunal to try people caught practicing public relations without license, whether they know it or not but we are undergoing advocacy visit to them to remidn them of the existence of this provision of the law, so that they do the needful.”