The National Broadcasting Commission has begun moves to penalise a radio station, Nigeria Info, over a recent comment made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailaifa.
It was gathered that the NBC could term Mailaifa’s statement as hate speech and sanction the station.
The PUNCH had earlier reported that the Commission recently unveiled its Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos and raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to 5 million naira.
Mailaifa was interviewed on a Monday during one of the station’s programmes, Morning CrossFire. He had talked on the killings in Southern Kaduna, one of the parts of the North-West region worst hit by banditry.
The interviewer had asked Mailaifa if the government was unwilling to protect the people of Southern Kaduna, to which he replied that some residents believed the government was sponsoring the killers.
The former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress said, “Some of us also have our intelligence networks. I have met with some of the bandits; we have met with some of their high commanders – one or two who have repented – they have sat down with us not once, not twice.
“They told us that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same. They have a sophisticated network. During this lockdown, their planes were moving up and down as if there was no lockdown.
“They were moving ammunition, moving money, and distributing them across different parts of the country.”
Mailafia said Boko Haram had already infiltrated Southern Nigeria, adding that their plan was to spark a second civil war.
He was later invited by the Department of State Services after the interview.
A source told our reporter that the DSS allegedly prompted NBC to sanction the station.
The Zonal Coordinator of the NBC, Chibuike Ogwumike, said the station breached the NBC code of conduct.
But he declined comments on the type of sanction to be meted out on the station, saying only the director-general of the commission could talk about it.
However, our reporter obtained a letter signed by Ogwumike and addressed to broadcast stations, saying the NBC monitoring team had recently observed a breach of its code.
NBC said it expected broadcasters to show professionalism in the handling of programmes, saying, “The recourse to abusing, denigrating and insulting the President, Governors, MPs and other leaders does not show us as cultured people.”
Though the letter was dated August 3, some of the stations reportedly received it between Tuesday and Wednesday, this week.[Punch]