The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a N5 million fine on Nigeria Info 99.3 over an interview with Obadiah Mailafia, former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
During the interview which was conducted on Monday August 10, Mailafia alleged that repentant bandits told him and other stakeholders in the Southern Kaduna that a governor in one of the Northern states is a leader of the insurgency group, Boko Haram.
“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.” he said during the interview
Following the controversy the interview generated, Mailafia was invited by men of the Department of State Services (DSS) and grilled for over six hours on Wednesday, August 12.
In a statement released on Thursday, August 13, the NBC accused the radio station of providing its platform for Obadiah to “promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder”. The commission added that Mailafia’s claims were devoid of facts and in contravention of seven provisions of the recently amended broadcasting code.
The statement reads
“The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, “Morning Cross Fire”, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30am and 9.00am.
The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr. Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.
Dr. Mailafia Obadia’s comments on the “Southern Kaduna Crisis”, were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same to the public, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, is in violation of the following sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code:
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 to any person or organization, alive or dead or generally be disrespectful to human dignity;
3.1.2 Broadcasting shall promote human dignity, therefore, hate speech is prohibited;
“3.3.1 (a) The broadcaster shall ensure that any information given in a programme, in whatever form, is accurate;
18.104.22.168(b) The Broadcaster shall ensure that all sides to any issue of public
interest are equitably presented for fairness and balance;
3.11.1(a) The broadcaster shall ensure that language or scene likely to encourage or incite to crime, or lead to disorder, is not broadcast;
3.11.1(b) No programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state;
5.4.1(f) The Broadcaster shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the indivisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.
Consequent on these provisions and in line with the amendment of the 6thedition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos, has been fined the sum of N5,000,000.00 (Five Million Naira), only.
This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such.
The Commission wishes to put it on record that it will not hesitate to suspend the Broadcast Licence of broadcast stations that continue to breach the Code.
Stations are, by this statement, admonished to desist forthwith, from airing unwholesome content, or be ready to face appropriate sanctions.”