Arise Television has been sanctioned by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for airing alleged fake reports about the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State governor, Bola Tinubu.
According to a press release purportedly signed by Festus Okoye, the Chairman of INEC Information and Voter Education, the electoral commission had been reported to have said it was working with the Northern Illinois District Court to determine the veracity of the allegation against the APC candidate.
The fake press release was dated, 11 November 2022.
However, INEC, in a statement signed by Festus Okoye on Saturday, categorically denied the press release and all information contained in it.
The commission also stated that it had no plans to investigate Tinubu for alleged drug trafficking.
“We wish to state categorically that the said Press Release did not emanate from the Commission nor is it pursuing the purported course of action. It is the handiwork of mischief makers and utterly fake,” INEC had said.
It therefore advised the public to ignore the purported press release.
“A Press Release purported to have been issued by the Commission has been trending online since yesterday Friday 11th November 2022. It claims that the Commission has commenced investigation into a case of criminal forfeiture against one of the Presidential candidates in the forthcoming General Election and is liaising with a Court in the United States of America in pursuit of same to determine possible violation of our guidelines or the Electoral Act 2022.
“We wish to state categorically that the said Press Release did not emanate from the Commission nor is it pursuing the purported course of action. It is the handiwork of mischief makers and utterly fake.
“Press Releases from the Commission are uploaded to the INEC Press Corps platform and simultaneously disseminated through our website and official social media handles.
“The public is advised to ignore the Press Release,” INEC said.
The development forced the station to retract the statement and apologised to Tinubu on Sunday.
However, in a statement signed Monday by NBC’s Director General, Balarabe Shehu, the broadcast station was compelled to pay the penalty within a period of two weeks.
“This (fake report by Arise TV) is a most unfortunate breach of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and a gross display of unprofessionalism and insensitivity by your organisation at this time of electioneering.
“Although, your station has tendered an apology to the presidential candidate of APC after the professional glitch, the Commission expects broadcasters to ensure utmost professionalism as anything contrary may have grave consequences.
“Consequently, pursuant to Section 5.1.3 of the Nigeria Broadcasting code, Arise TV is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of 2,000,000.00 (Two Million Naira). Note that the penalty shall be paid within two weeks of the receipt of this letter or sanction shall be graduated,” the statement partly read.