Following the imposition of Five Million Naira fine by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Thursday on Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos for broadcasting the Dr. Obadiah Mailafia interview in which he alleged that a Northern Governor is Boko Haram Commander, former aide to President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, is leading an international fundraising appeal to enable the station pay the fine.
Omokri, who reacted swiftly to the announcement of the fine, said via his Twitter handle: “The NBC has fined @NigeriainfoFM ₦5 million for broadcasting the Obadiah Mailafia interview. I‘m thinking of helping raise the ₦5 million, so we can frustrate General @MBuhari
’s plan to end free speech. RETWEET if you think it is a good idea!”
Dr Mailafia had alleged that repentant Boko Haram terrorists told him that a Northern Governor is a Commander of Boko Haram and that there is a plan by the terrorists to ignite a civil war in 2022.
The former Deputy Governor of Central Bank and the Presidential Candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC) in the 2019 election was on Wednesday invited by the Department of State Security (DSS) Plateau State headquarters in Jos but was released “unconditionally” later in the evening.
The NBC said in the statement that the fine is the way it noted “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.
“The Commission, again, wishes to reiterate that Broadcasters hold Licenses in trust for the people. Therefore, no Broadcast Station should be used, to promote personal or sectional interests at the expense of the people.
“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;
126.96.36.199(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.”