The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has queried Channels Television over an interview that was granted to the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
The comment which was made by Ortom while appearing on a Channel Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday, was described by NBC as inciting, divisive and unfair.
The query is contained in a letter titled, ‘Notice of Infraction’ which was signed by the Director-General of NBC, Balarabe Ilelah, and dated August 24, 2021.
What Ortom said in the Channels Television interview
The Benue State Governor described the President’s decision to approve the recommendations of a committee to review 368 grazing sites across the 25 states in the country to determine the levels of encroachment as unconstitutional.
Ortom said, “If Mr President respects the law, the Land Use Act gives governors the power to preside over land administration on behalf of the people that they govern.
“So it is amazing and I am surprised to hear this coming from Mr President as if he doesn’t have an Attorney General, or Lawyers around him to advise him. I think Mr President was misquoted or he did it out of error. He should come out to apologise to Nigerians.’’
Going further, he 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.
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“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.”
What the NBC Director-General is saying in the letter
The letter from NBC partly reads, “The programme which had as 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.”
It said the actions allegedly negated Sections 1.10.4, 3.1.1, 3.3.1(b), 3.3.1(e), 3.11.1(a), and 3.12.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
It said, “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.’’
What you should know
It can be recalled that the Presidency in a statement yesterday was critical and came hard on Governor Ortom, accusing him of using sectarian language similar to that of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, while reacting to the security challenges in his state.
They said that he was promoting religious and ethnic violence with his comments which they described as inciting in addition to playing on ethnic themes – and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims.
This is not the first time that Channels Television is facing sanction or threat of it by the NBC. The NBC had in May slammed a fine of N5million each on Channels TV and Inspiration FM Lagos for alleged infractions of the broadcasting code.