The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) engaged the International Press Center (IPC) on Tuesday, February 25, to train 18 officers from various Nigeria’s Anti-Corruption Agencies (ACAs) on Media and Strategic Communication.
The three-day training which took place in Keffi, Nasarawa state’s capital city was carried out successfully under a project implemented by the CDD with support from MacArthur Foundation.
The training brought to the fore, experts to learn and improve communication strategy among core anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria.
It also availed the communication experts the opportunity to learn global best practices while engaging the public in the fight against corruption in Nigeria by the agencies.
Representing Idayat Hassan, CDD’s Director, Lukman Adefolahan, welcomed the participants and the facilitators to the event.
Mr. Adefolahan giving a background of the Nigeria Anti-Corruption Agencies Strengthening Initiative Project said the training will help the officers improve communication and information sharing among anti-corruption agencies and the general public.
He explained that the training which targets the communication departments of the ACAs will help participants improve on communication for development, especially in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
Also speaking, Lanre Arogunade, director of International Press Centre urged participants to know that there is nothing that cannot be improved upon and to ensure effective communication.
Arogunade urged communicators to know their audiences, the messages they intend to communicate to the audience and the best channels for every message.
Fatima Shaibu who spoke on improving the delivery of public information on anti-corruption crusade, charged participants to use proper channels to communicate to their audience.
She urged the ACAs communication officers to understand that their primary audiences are those who the organisation’s mandate affect directly, while their secondary and tertiary audiences all vary with works and vision of the different organisations.
“When you know you primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences, the organisation can be able to know what channel of communication suits the agencies,” Shuiabu said.
Emphasizing on some strategies for effective communication, David Ajikobi, the Nigerian Editor for Africa Check urged for collaborative storytelling.
Ajikobi said communication experts must endeavour to “tell issue-based stories, work with a proactive media agenda, leverage on multi-media storytelling, and finally the communication language”.
According to him, “for public organisations to achieve effective communication, they should be able to explore new strategies or build upon existing ones; you could take your conferences to the online space.”
Continuing, Ajikobi urged the officers to, “have webinars sessions, triangulate data evidence, crowdsource information, communication professionals and organizations can also use WhatsApp for business to reach out to loyal or find new ones and have direct engagement with them”.
Since fake news, disinformation and misinformation are inevitable while working in the online space, David taught intensively fact-checking procedures.
Defining Fake news as completely fictional, deliberate and a dangerous tool which could mar the progress of anti-corruption agencies, Ajikobi said agencies must be able to fact check information.
He further explained that social media is a visual image as communication specialists could always make use of visuals to pass some of their messages to their audience.
“Social media is playing an important role in our jobs, surveillance and the fight against corruption across the globe,” he added.
Adejoke Fayemi of the African Independent Television spoke on the effective broadcast communication and engagement.
Mrs. Fayemi says “broadcast communication is a process of transmitting carefully crafted and creative messages to influence millions of people simultaneously. Storytelling is a process we must learn as communication people; it is the process of reaching out to the audience. Hence, we must creatively tell our stories through multi-media.”
Meanwhile, participants shared success stories on how CDD’s support to ACAs have helped in the fight against corruption in Nigeria.
The participants from the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) boasted that with the support, the commission has been able to pilot 12 states for tracking of constituency project.
“With the support, we have been able to push through more state,” a communication officer from the ICPC said.
For the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), through the CDD’s support, the agency has been able to create more awareness on the its anti-corruption fight.
Similarly, officers of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) said they have received up to 60 computer systems which personnel now use in the IT department.
They said attending the training have helped the agency improve its anti-corruption interventions.
The Office of the Auditor General of the Federation says despite being new to the process, a lot of impacts have been recorded due to CDD’s intervention.
Among participants at the training are communication experts from TUGAR, EFCC, ICPC, NIETI, PACAC, NFIU among others.