SGF Warns MDAs’ Information Managers Against Implication of Leaking Official Secrets

Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja 

The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator George Akume has warned communication managers across Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the security implications of leaking classified secrets.

Akume warned that failure to ensure the protection of official secrets will otherwise be tantamount to felony.

The SGF issued the warning in Abuja at the one-day workshop 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.

Akume, who was represented at the capacity building training by the permanent secretary, said it is incumbent on communication managers to disseminate information that is correct and truthful.

He urged them 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.

“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,” he warned.

The SGF noted that the purpose of the training was to 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 had 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 remarks, the Director-General of Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR), Dasuki Arabi, stated that the workshop was designed to empower communication managers on the critical roles they play in maintaining confidentiality and national security under the Official Secrets Act. 

In addition, he said 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 Tinubu. 

In his goodwill message, the National President of Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Dr. Ike Neliaku, stated that communication was very sensitive and as such must be churned out responsibly, while the National President of Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Dr Christopher Isiguzo, said the training programme would 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.

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