The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, on Tuesday, wrote Channels Television's Sunrise Daily programme crew over “inciting” comments made by the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom, who was a guest on the show.
This was disclosed in a notice of infraction signed by the Commission's Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, and addressed to the television station.
Ilelah alleged that Ortom made “inciting, divisive and unfair comments” which were not thoroughly interrogated by the anchors highlighting sections from the NBC code which the interview contravened.
The letter reads: “The National Broadcasting Commission monitored the broadcast of your programme Sunrise Daily between 7 am and 9 am on Tuesday, August 24, 2021.
“The programme which had as a guest, the Executive Governor of Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom was observed to contain inciting, divisive and unfair comments which were not thoroughly interrogated by the anchors. These negate the following provisions of the Broadcasting code:
“Section 1.10.4: The broadcaster shall ensure that its Presenter ....shall handle it with professionalism and sound judgment to ensure that it does not lose focus or lead to unfair treatment or institution.
“Section 3.1.1: No broadcast shall encourage or incite to crime, lead to public disorder or hate, be repugnant to public feelings or contain offensive reference or organization alive or dead.
“Section 3.1.1(b): the broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance.
“Section 3.11.1(a): the broadcaster shall ensure that language...likely to encourage or incite to crime or lead to disorder is not broadcast. Section 3.12.2: the broadcaster shall not transmit a program that incites or likely to incite to violence, among the populace, causing mass panic, political and social upheaval, security breach and general social disorder.
“Consequently, Channels Television is required to explain why appropriate sanctions should not be applied for these infractions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Your response should reach the Commission within 24 hours of receipt of this letter.”
This was, however, condemned by human rights’ activist, Omoyele Sowore, who shared the letter on his Twitter handle on Thursday.
He wrote, “The stupid letter from the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission over Gov. Ortom’s interview with @channelstv. They’ve summoned the presenters over another interview with Retired Navy Commodore Kunle Olawunmi! Even a state Gov is NOT allowed to talk under @MBuhari’s tyranny."
The NBC also summoned the presenters on Thursday for granting an interview to former Nigerian Navy officer, Commodore Kunle Olawunmi (retd.)
Olawunmi had said Boko Haram terrorists mentioned names of current governors, senators and Aso Rock officials as sponsors during interrogation by the military authorities.
He, however, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s government failed to demonstrate the necessary political will to go after the high-profile politicians for reasons best known to it.
Olawunmi, a professor of Global Security Studies, said he was a member of the Intelligence Brief at Defence Headquarters during the leadership of the then Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. Abayomi Olonisakin.