By Soni Daniel, Abuja
As the spate of violence protests and violence rages across the country, the Director-General of the Department of State Services, Alhaji Yusuf Bichi, has called on the Actors Guild of Nigeria to use their platform to promote national peace and security.
The DSS DG made the appeal when the National President of the AGN, Ejezie Emeka Rollas, led other members of the association to pay a visit to him at the DSS headquarters in Abuja on Thursday.
The DG, who was represented by the Spokesman for the DSS, Dr. Peter Afunanya, described the AGN as a credible mobilisation platform that can effectively assist in promoting peace and national cohesion in Nigeria and promised to work with the body in its quest to secure Nigeria for all.
Bichi said: “As a security organisation, we believe in working with strategic partners to promote peace and security in the country and we believe in collaboration as a strong model for addressing security challenges and therefore call on the Guild to be agents for attitudinal change and national reorientation.
“The DSS sees the AGN as a strategic partner in national security management and we want the AGN to use its platforms for positive narratives on Nigeria and its citizens so as to promote peace and national cohesion as well as guide public perceptions,” the DG told the AGN delegation.
The National President of AGN, Ejezie Rollas, told the DSS DG they were in Abuja to lend support to the agency in its strides of galvanising security information in the country and to commiserate with the security agency and Nigeria on the unfortunate death of several gallant officers and other casualties during the #ENDSARS protests.
Rollas said: “We want to commiserate with you and the entire Nation on the unfortunate death of several gallant officers and other casualties suffered during the crisis over the #endsars protest. And at the same relate our condolences to all families that lost their loved ones during the unfortunate crisis. May God grant their souls eternal rest in peace, comfort their families and heal the injured.
“The unfortunate incidence of wanton destruction, looting and vandalization that trailed the protest by hoodlums has thrown a challenge to the Government to properly take security issues very seriously to meet the growing sophistication of criminal elements in the society. We believe it’s an eye opener to all Nigerians. We are therefore here today to affirm our support and importantly strategic engagement with your Organisation.
“We need to apply our NOLLYWOOD brand and indeed style to provide quality public perception for enhanced national security management. We are very qualified to also provide support services using the “Star Power” of the Nollywood films to advocate for national peace. With enlightenment campaigns through these films and stronger partnership with the DSS, we have no doubt that we can contribute immensely to the realisation of our national security objectives.
“Our conviction is because films are powerful tools for propagating the image of a nation. They not only send powerful messages to the public but serve as credible platform for attitudinal change and national reorientation. Therefore the use of star power in information dissemination and advocacy campaigns cannot be over emphasized.
“We believe that carefully selected advocacy and enlightenment campaigns will help in mass education and citizens’ mobilisation for national security consciousness. They will serve as counter narratives that can only shore up the image of the country and eliminate the skewed negative perceptions against her.
“Director General Sir, we have been involved in many advocacy and enlightenment projects for, Agencies, MDAs etc. (We have just produced an advocacy film for the Nigerian Army, in support of their efforts in combating the rising spate of insurgency and defending the territorial integrity .
“Finally sir, we request that while galvanizing security information in the country that the DSS should give celebrities a fair opportunity knowing that celebrities are human beings who also have feelings. We understand the peculiarity of your agency in the national security architecture. But kindly give us opportunity to collaborate with you in the fight against the numerous security challenges in the country. We have a lot to offer. And we are determined.
“We want to state that we share in the dream of a better Nigeria where law abiding individuals and groups can successfully pursue their legitimate businesses without fear or any for form of hindrance.
“Let me end by once again restating our pledge to Project Nigeria and our resolve to support your efforts and continue to promote the core values of a new Nigeria, the values of hard work, honesty and free enterprise. I know we all share these values and we shall work harder to promote them,” the AGN President pledged.