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Federal Government has charged communication managers across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to safeguard government’s documents by ensuring that correct and truthful information is conveyed in a manner that will not jeopardise the security of the country.

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume, CON gave the charge at the One Day Capacity Building on the Role of the Official Secrets Acts in Maintaining Confidentiality and National Security organised by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms  in collaboration with the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation  in Abuja.

SGF, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, General Services Office in the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation said that it is incumbent on communication managers to disseminate information that is correct and truthful and to also ensure official secrets are protected as doing otherwise will be tantamount to felony. In his words:

“As you are aware, leaking of official secret act is a felony and there is no defence for such act either in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria or the Freedom of Information Act. This training underlies the importance Government places on the dissemination of correct and truthful information”.

According to the SGF, the purpose of the training is to also improve strategic communication skills in the public service to ensure employees work towards a common goal through clear direction and vision. He added that government has made great strides in communicating its approved policies and programmes implementation with the public, with the conscious effort to complement with improved internal communication to inform and mobilise public servants.

In his opening remarks, the Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Dasuki Arabi stated that the workshop is aimed at empowering communication managers on the critical roles they play in maintaining confidentiality and national security under the Official Secrets Act. He added that it will also strengthen national unity through effective communication in public services and to leverage social media for effective governance in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

In his goodwill Message, the National President of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Ike Neliaku stated that communication is very sensitive and as such must be churned out responsibly. While the National President of Nigeria Union of Journalists, Dr Christopher Isiguzo, said the training programme will offer a valuable opportunity to deepen understanding of the Official Secrets Acts and their application in daily work. He further said that It will also provide a platform for learning best practices, sharing experiences, and discussing strategies for effectively managing information within the bounds of confidentiality and security.

Segun Imohiosen

Director, Information & Public Relations2

2nd July, 2024