A Non-governmental organization, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria, HURIWA, has accused the current Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Alhaji Ishaq Modibbo Kawu of being a ‘religious and fanatical promoter of pro-Buhari’s sentiments’ in public and private broadcasting.
HURIWA, in a statement signed by its National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, lamented that the allegation that the minister of information Lai Mohammed wrote to the National Broadcasting Commission over a year ago to raise him a loan to travel to China has not been sufficiently investigated.
The group in the statement said ”it was imperative that the head of that government agency is compelled to operate within the principle of rule of law and adherence to the constitutional provisions, just as it restated that compelling him to respect section 22 of the constitution would serve to achieve the betterment of Nigerians’ collective yearning for the expansion of the frontiers of media freedoms.”
The rights group further alleged that Channels TV and was fined N5 million in the month of July 2018 and other media houses for refusing to be the propaganda machine of the government against National Assembly and Senator Bukola Saraki.
It, therefore, called on the National Assembly to investigate the claims of nepotism, favoritism and religious sentiments in the exercise of functions and duties of the office of the Director-General by the holder of that office currently in NBC.
The statement added, “On good authority, we have been told of the unprecedented impunity and reign of nepotism, ethno-religious chauvinism that go on inside the inner recesses of the office of the director general. We were informed of how he has allegedly used his office to stand in the way of the promotions of officers who are not Hausa Fulani Moslems.
“There is an urgent need for the National Assembly to focus her attention on the NBC with the hope of compelling the head of that institution not to view his office as that of the enforcer of the APC code of broadcasting but as a non-partisan office holder. The NBC ACT should be amended to bring it into consonance with global best practices and ensure that the holder of the office of DG must be a person of good standing and a patriot who must carry out his official functions without prejudice to the Ethno Religious interests of the staff and management of that agency and must show demonstrable evidence of total non partisanship.
“We have been informed that Channels TV was fined N5 million in the month of July 2018 for refusing to be the propaganda machine of the government against National Assembly and Senator Bukola Saraki.
” We have also been informed that Kiss FM in Lagos is dying in silence. Cool FM is complaining. City FM along Ogba-Ikeja road in Lagos is about to die due to over FINE. A radio station in Ibadan was fined N500, 000 because a jingle critical of Fulani Herdsmen was aired therein. Sweet FM in the gateway state is battling to retain its license. Wazobia FM must declare all guests to feature in their programmes to NBC or face FINE. The frequency of Rhythm FM has been suspended five times in 2018 for refusing to stop inviting some Public Analysts critical of President Buhari.”
HURIWA recalled that; “Ekiti TV and Radio are under lock and key because the state Governor, Ayo Fayose exposed how results were altered and rigged during the July 14th governorship elections in the state against the wishes of the people. As usual, Some, due to party sentiment, clapped when Ekiti TV and Radio were shut. Hope someone is getting something Nigeria”.
” Mr. Gbenga Aruleba of Fucus Nigeria AIT was reportedly suspended from his programme because of pressure from NBC even as Raypower political platform was fined 500,000 naira for running live commentary on national assembly imbroglio i.e. on the day of mass defection at the Senate”
”The exercise of these dictatorial tendencies by the DG who is running a one-man show in NBC contravene the powers and functions enshrined in the NBC ACT which ought to be seen as enabling provisions that should rather promote media freedoms rather than stifling media freedoms.
HURIWA added that the aforementioned allegations have not permitted the Director-General to convert his office to the one-sided job of a chief enforcer of the ideology and agenda of the party that produced the President.