August 26, (THEWILL) – The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has queried Channels Television over the “inciting, divisive and unfair comments” made by Benue State’s Governor Samuel Ortom on the TV’s “Sunrise Daily” breakfast programme on Tuesday
The NBC in a “Notice of Infraction,” dated August 24, 2021, and signed by its Director-General, Balarabe Ilelah, said, “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 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.
The NBC 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.”
THEWILL recalls that the NBC in July directed television and radio stations not to divulge “details” of the activities of bandits, terrorists and kidnappers in their reports but media chiefs in the country had said the Press would not be silenced. They had advised the Buhari regime to, instead, proffer solutions to the security challenges plaguing the nation.
Ortom, while featuring as a guest on Sunrise Daily on Tuesday, had condemned the way in which some critical security issues were being managed by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Ortom had during the interview, described the President as the worst when it comes to handling security matters.
On the attacks by suspected herdsmen, the Governor alleged that the President had an agenda to ‘Fulanise” the country, adding that the late former Presidents Shehu Shagari and Umar Yar’Adua, as Nigerian leaders of Fulani extraction, were better than Buhari in terms of security.
The Governor had also flayed President Buhari’s stance on open grazing. President Buhari had approved recommendations of a committee to review 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment.”
“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”, Ortom had added.
But The Presidency on Wednesday accused Governor Ortom of driving an ethnic campaign of self interest to incite violence.
It said the Governor is deliberately escalating the farmers/herders crisis in his State, thereby causing more deaths of the innocent.
According to a statement issued by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, said, the Governor, in an attempt to boost his sinking political fortunes, takes the cheapest and lowest route possible by “playing on ethnic themes –and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims.”
Shehu said Ortom’s “wicked talk is aimed at giving cover to his so-called policy on the Ranches Establishment Law –which in reality is purely an act of denial of the law- intended to withhold rights and freedoms from one ethnic group alone, whilst inciting race hatred against them amongst all others.”