Just in… NBC fines Nigeria Info, N5m over Mailafia’s interview on Boko Haram

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The National Broadcasting Commission has fined a radio station, Nigeria Info, N5m, for the ‘unverifiable and inciting views’ expressed by a former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Obadiah Mailaifa.

In a statement signed by the NBC management on Thursday titled, ‘The National Broadcasting Commission Fines Nigeria Info 99.3 For Unprofessional Broadcast’, the commission said the views expressed by Obadiah when he featured on the  station’s programmes, Morning CrossFire ‘could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder’.

The commission had recently unveiled its Revised Broadcasting Code in Lagos and raised the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to 5 million naira.

Mailaifa was interviewed on Monday during one of the station’s programmes, Morning CrossFire where he talked on the killings in Southern Kaduna, one of the parts of the North-West region worst hit by banditry.

“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.

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“They were moving ammunition, moving money, and distributing them across different parts of the country,” the former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress said during the programme.

Reacting on Thursday, the NBC said, “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;

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“3.3.3.1(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.”

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