The Comptroller General of Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Hameed Ali (rtd.) on Tuesday vowed to severely sanction any officer caught, disseminating Customs official information, without belonging to the Public Relations unit.
Ali gave the warning while speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day workshop on Crisis Communication organised by the service and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations NIPR for all PROs of the Service and journalists at Nigeria Customs Service Staff College in Gwagwalada, Abuja.
The CG, who appreciated the vital role of public relations in building mutual understanding between the Service and its stakeholders, said messages from the Service must always be correct and professionally communicated to the public.
He therefore tasked the body of image makers attending the workshop to strive at all times, to fully understand the core essence of every information, in addition to knowing the way to deliver it, so as to achieve optimal result.
Col Ali pledged that the Service management will continue to support the PR officers to effectively perform their function of information management and dissemination.
“NCS under my leadership recognises the crucial functions of public relation as a means of building mutual understanding between the Service and stakeholders. It is therefore imperative that while carrying out the presidential mandate of restruction, reforms and raise revenue, we actively engage the public who have a stake in what we do. To achieve this, management will continue to support the PR officers to effectively perform their function of information management and dissemination.
“Consequently any non-designated officer that transmits or circulates information that should be properly handled by the PRO will be sanctioned. Messages from the Service must always be correct and professionally communicated to the public,” said the CG who said PR was a tool that could entrench higher integrity among operatives and compliance from stakeholders.
He charged the participants to take advantage of the workshop for the benefit of the Service and commended President of the NIPR, Dr. Rotimi Oladele and his governing council for their quest to entrench a culture of peaceful relationship in Nigeria through public relations.
The CGC also stressed the importance proper dressing by Customs officers, pointing out that apart from acquiring the skills to discern and present facts in the best way possible, the art of good dressing must also be fully imbibed, as those who dress shabbily often times, are also first to be sighted by foreigners on arrival in the country.
In his contribution, the Commandant of the Regional Customs College ACG Charles Edike said the workshop; going by its theme couldn’t have come at a better time than now.
“The 3 day workshop on Crisis Communication for the Service Public Relations Officers to be handled by the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations NIPR couldn’t have come at a better time than now that the Service is undergoing reforms.
“The changes brought about by these reforms affect the interest of some stakeholders and could be a veritable source of disagreement. We therefore need well trained PROs in the area of managing issues and even crisis that could arise in the Service on-going drive to achieve excellence”, ACG Edike stated further, commending the CGC for endorsing the workshop, and pressing it on the participants to take advantage of the world class facilities to maximize the benefits of the workshop.