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Buhari Sacks Broadcast Agency Boss Who Ordered Radios And TVs To Quit Twitter

President Muhammadu Buhari.

June 11, (THEWILL)- President Muhammadu Buhari has kicked out the Acting Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Professor Armstrong Idachaba, who on Monday June 7 directed all broadcast stations in the country to suspend the patronage of Twitter with immediate effect.

In his place, the President has appointed Mr. Balarabe Ilelah as the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

Idachaba has held the NBC DG post in an “Acting” role since February 2020 when his predecessor, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, was placed on an indefinite suspension.

It remains unclear why the President failed to confirm Idachaba for the role and why the Professor was being relieved of the position at this moment.

Professor Armstrong Idachaba

However, when in Buhari’s pre-recorded Arise TV interview on Thursday the President was asked questions on the Twitter drama, His Excellency had declined to comment on the episode, saying he would prefer to keep that issue to himself.

Information Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who announced Ilelah’s appointment via a statement on Friday, indicated that the new NBC DG had a five-year tenure.

In a rather unpopular and controversial move that attracted threats of litigation from outfits like Daar Communications, Professor Armstrong Idachaba, as Acting Director General of NBC, on Monday directed all broadcast stations nationwide to suspend the patronage of Twitter with immediate effect.

Not a few had felt that Idachaba’s intervention and direction in issuing the instruction amounted to that of a meddlesome interloper, as many media houses had skirted the Twitter ban by accessing the platform through the VPN router instead of the local networks that had been instructed by the government to bar the service.

The Twitter platform had been a fertile ground for sourcing and exchanging news and information for the media.

But Idachaba and NBC declared that it would be unpatriotic for any Nigerian broadcaster to patronise the banned platform as an information source.

According to him, the directive fell in tandem with Section 2(1) of the NBC Act, mandating NBC to enforce the responsibility of ensuring strict adherence to national laws, rules and regulations.

Idachaba’s memo also quoted Section 3.11.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which he said stipulated that: “The broadcaster shall ensure that law enforcement is upheld at all times in a matter depicting that law and order are socially superior to or more desirable than Crime and Anarchy.

“Attention is also drawn to Section 5.6.3 of The Code which requires Broadcasters to be mindful of materials that may cause disaffection, incite to panic or rift in the society in the use of a User Generated Content (UGC).”

Born in 1962, Armstrong Aduku Idachaba was a Nigerian Professor of Mass Communication, and had served as Director of Broadcast Policy and Research in the commission before his February 2020 elevation as replacement for Modibbo Kawu who had been sacked over corruption allegations.