DSS Directs NBC to Sanction Nigeria Info Over Mailafia Interview
Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has begun moves to penalise a radio station, Nigeria Info, over a recent comment made by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia following directives from the State Security Service (SSS), otherwise known as DSS.
Punch reports that a source disclosed that the DSS allegedly prompted the NBC to sanction the station.
It was gathered that the NBC could term Mailaifa’s statement as hate speech.
Mailaifa had been interviewed on a Monday during one of the station’s programmes called Morning CrossFire, to talk on the killings in Southern Kaduna, one of the parts of the North-West region worst hit by banditry.
The reporter had asked him if the government was unwilling to protect the people of Southern Kaduna, to which he replied that some residents believed the government was sponsoring the killers.
The former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) said, “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.
“They were moving ammunition, moving money, and distributing them across different parts of the country.”
Mailafia said Boko Haram had already infiltrated Southern Nigeria, adding that their plan was to spark a second civil war.
He was later invited by the DSS after the interview.
The Zonal Coordinator of the NBC, Chibuike Ogwumike, said the station breached the NBC code of conduct.
But he declined comments on the type of sanction to be meted out on the station, saying only the director-general of the commission could talk about it.
However, a letter signed by Ogwumike and addressed to broadcast stations, said the NBC monitoring team had recently observed a breach of its code.
The NBC said it expected broadcasters to show professionalism in the handling of programmes, saying, “The recourse to abusing, denigrating and insulting the President, Governors, MPs and other leaders does not show us as cultured people.”
Though the letter was dated August 3, some of the stations reportedly received it between Tuesday and Wednesday, this week.
The Commission recently unveiled its Reviewed Broadcasting Code in Lagos and raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to 5 million naira.
Recall that in June 2019, Ohimai Amaize, publisher of SIGNAL and broadcaster with Africa Independent Television (AIT) fled Nigeria to exile in the United States over concerns he was going to be arrested and framed by the DSS with treason and incitement charges for presenting Kakaaki Social, a TV show that curated the comments of Nigerians on issues of public interest. His exit from Nigeria followed a letter from the NBC accusing the programme of “treasonable rhetoric and incitement.” He was granted asylum in the United States in January 2020.
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