The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has queried Channels TV for alleged violation of Nigeria’s broadcasting code during its breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday.
The regulator claimed the programme which hosted the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, contained “inciting, divisive and unfair comments”.
On the programme, Mr Ortom expressed his displeasure about the growing insecurity in the country and accused President Muhammadu Buhari of an agenda to “fulanise” the country”.
What Governor Ortom said
“Mr President is pushing me to think that what they say about him, that he has a hidden agenda in this country is true because it is very clear that he wants to fulanise but he is not the first Fulani president.
“Shagari was a Fulani President, Yar’ Adua was a Fulani President and they were the best in the history. But President Buhari is the worst president when it comes to issues of security and keeping his promises.
“Go back to 2015, what did he say, human rights issues, he talked about press freedom, about the economy, corruption, security. Tell me one that Mr President has achieved.
“He has achieved some level of development in other sectors but these prominent things that are concerns to Nigerians and we are all worried about, tell me when Mr President has come out to address them. Is it corruption, we are worse in the history of this country.”
In a notice signed by its director general, Balarabe Ilelah, the NBC accused Channels TV of not “thoroughly interrogating” the comments made by Governor Ortom.
“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 the receipt of this letter,” the notice read.
Although Channels TV has not publicly reacted to the letter, an official at the station told PREMIUM TIMES that Channels has responded to NBC’s query and denied any wrongdoing.
The NBC under Mr Buhari has become intolerant of views critical of the president and the government.
In October 2020, Channels TV was one of the broadcast stations fined N3 million naira for their reportage of the #EndSARs protest.
In April, the TV station was also warned over an interview the station held with the spokesperson of the outlawed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
Again in May, it was fined N5 million for alleged violation.
The Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project (SERAP) has threatened to file a lawsuit against the commission over the repeated harassment.
“We’re suing to end the harassment of Channels TV simply for carrying out its professional duties, if the unlawful NBC query issued to the station is not withdrawn within 24 hours,” the group said Thursday.
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