On the NIPR Security Summit for National Integration, by Sharon Olatunde
Recently, the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) announces its plan to host a summit on national integration, peace and security in the country.
The President of NIPR, Malam Mukhtar Sirajo said the Institute’s decision to seek peace in the country went beyond using the front-line kinetic warfare.
He said the Summit would complement the efforts of security agencies, as there was now a pressing need to seek a people-to-people approach to restore public confidence.
He noted further that the efforts of the NIPR in the search for peace in the country were by no means an attempt to erode the efforts of the armed forces and security agencies, but a task that the Institute had set for itself. because of the patriotic citizens he paraded as members.
As a university student, I am aware that Nigeria currently faces security challenges on several fronts. In the northeast, Boko Haram and the Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) have killed tens of thousands of citizens over the past decade, displaced millions, and caused a protracted humanitarian crisis.
Likewise, in the northwest, conflict between herders and farmers have escalated amid a broader deterioration in security conditions involving cattle rustling, kidnapping, ethnic massacres, and emergent Islamist extremist activity.
In addition, farmer-herder violence also has surged in the north-central, where disputes over resource access coincide with ethno-religious cleavages between Christian and Muslim communities.
Concurrently, In the south, criminality and militancy in the oil-rich Niger Delta have impeded development and contributed to insecurity in the Gulf of Guinea for decades.
Military measures aimed at ending the destructive onslaught of bandits, kidnappers, terrorist and attacks fueled by ethnic chauvinism seem to be taking long to achieve. This implies that peace and security will continue to elude the country’s development unless some other actions are pursued as alternative means of attaining sustainable tranquility in the country.
That is why we must commend the NIPR for the proposed summit because other methods of fostering peace and harmony could be put into account which may entail the use of public relations that involves establishing and maintaining relationship among the citizens through peace advocacies. This will subtly and surely revise the violent disposition of potential suspects to criminalities through the use of communication.
It gladdens my heart that the NIPR is organizing the summit because of the prevailing situation in the country.
As young person, I wonder sometimes if our elders are telling us the truth that they grew up in a country were peace and harmony reign. Where primordial considerations did blind the leaders in making decision. Where people of different faiths and tribes lived harmoniously peaceful; where cases of banditry, kidnapping and terrorism where non-existence….. A lot of such nostalgic narratives always fill my ears.
I believe as a student of Mass Communication that through effective Public Relations strategies, a campaign safety and security can go along way in reestablishing mutual relationship not only between the government but among the citizens towards a greater and prosperous nation.
The citizens, especially the youths should be educated on security consciousness and national unity. This can be achieved through awareness campaign for peaceful coexistence.
In addition, we should be patriotic and contribute towards building a safe united nation. We should be vigilant in the community by cooperating and providing useful information to the security agencies on strange movements and suspicious activities.
Sharon Olatunde, an Intern at PRNigeria Centre is a student of Mass Communication Department
Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti