The federal government has threatened the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) with dire consequences for airing ‘The Bandit warlords of Zamfara’, a documentary it considers as glorifying and fueling terrorism in Nigeria. Also in the same vein, the government also vowed to deal with a local newspaper, Daily Trust for interviewing a bandit kingpin.
This was made known by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, during a chat with journalists on Thursday in Abuja.
The minister who said that the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission is aware of these 2 incidents, condemned the BBC for not upholding the same standards and tenets as they would have done in the UK.
He also condemned the Daily Trust for using its platform to grant interviews to a bandit kingpin, thereby promoting the activities of terrorists.
Mohammed, who said that the NBC, which is the regulatory body, is looking at which part of the broadcasting code has been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust and as well as determine the appropriate sanctions to be meted out to them, assured that there will be consequences.
The minister said, “All I can say is that there is a regulatory body regulating broadcasting which is the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and they are also aware of these two incidents.
“They are looking at which part of the Broadcasting Code that has been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust and I can assure you that there will be consequence.’’
The minister said that the fact that the BBC is a foreign medium and not under NBC regulations, notwithstanding, sanctions will be meted to the medium. He said, “Let me assure you that they will not get away with the naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.“If they are not registered in Nigeria and they are only sending their signals to Nigeria, we will ask them to stop sending the signals, pure and simple. Because I know that during the IRA days, the BBC will not dare do what they are doing now in Nigeria.
“Media is the oxygen that terrorists and bandits use to breathe.
“When otherwise reputable platforms like BBC can give their platform to terrorists showing their faces as if they are Nollywood stars, it is unfortunate.
“I want to assure them that they will not get away with it, appropriate sanctions will be meted to both the BBC and the Daily Trust.
“It is because there is a country called Nigeria that they are operating here.’’
The minister reiterated that the government would not tolerate any attempt by any media organisation to use its platform to set the country on fire.
Recall that a few days ago, BBC, in a documentary, BBC Africa Eye, reported its interview with Abu Sanni, a self-confessed bandit kingpin, who said that insecurity has become a business everyone benefits from.
The 50-minute documentary titled ‘The Bandit warlords of Zamfara’ was undertaken by Yusuf Anka, a journalist who crisscrossed remote bandit enclaves in the state, which is one of the worst-hit states by banditry.
The self-confessed bandit kingpin said insecurity has become a lucrative business, adding that everyone, including the government, is benefitting from the violent attacks, noting that that is why things are deteriorating, from the top to the bottom