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Shettima tasks public relations professionals on truth, national integration

On Tuesday, Vice President Kashim Shettima in Abuja implored public relations professionals to serve as guardians of truth and national integration through effective communication to combat disinformation.

Shettima made the call at the maiden edition of the National Spokespersons Summit, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR) and the Federal Ministry of Information and National Orientation.

The Vice President emphasised the critical role image-building and narrative construction play in maintaining social order.

Represented by Mr. Stanley Nkwocha, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communications (Office of the Vice President), Shettima urged members of the institute to embrace national sacrifice.

“Through your commitments and sacrifices, the voices of the misrepresented and the misunderstood are amplified, and the vision of a better tomorrow is brought to fruition.”

He stressed the immense responsibility spokespersons held as the voices of their organisations or principals, representing their values, visions, missions, and aspirations to the public.

“You are not only the spokesperson, a gatekeeper of truth, but also a defender of the public at the mercy of fake news merchants and their impressionable mercenaries.

“We can never win the war against misinformation and disinformation unless our responses to them are timely and evidence-based.”

He commended President Bola Tinubu’s commitment to citizen engagement.

“This is an invitation for you to partner with us in crafting the right narratives to change the Nigerian story and reinvent our society.”

Similarly, Shettima urged spokespersons to be inclusive, saying, “Always leave a seat empty for any group to join your table, and don’t treat anyone as inconsequential because their views don’t align with yours.”

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He expressed hope that the summit would strengthen the enthusiasm of all spokespersons to bridge divides, inspire commitment, and induce actions that drive the change we desire.”

Earlier, the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Alhaji Mohammed Idris, emphasized the pivotal role effective communication played in shaping perceptions and fostering trust.

“Nigeria, a diversely blessed and vibrant country, grapples with the need to create a cohesive national identity—one that transcends ethnicity, religion, and political affiliations. ”

He added that crafting a compelling national narrative became paramount as it strived to live up to vast potential. (NAN)

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