By Tunde Oguntola, Abuja
The National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) has suspended the broadcast licence of Channels Television station and also slammed it with a fine of N5m for hosting a spokesperson of the proscribed Independent People Of Biafra (IPOB) in a live interview programme in contravention of broadcast code.
A letter signed by the acting director-general of NBC, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba, dated Monday, April 26, 2021, said during the interview hosted by Seun Okinbaloye on its political programme, ‘Sunday Politics’ on Sunday night, an acclaimed new leader of IPOB made several secessionist and inciting declarations on air without caution or reprimand by the TV station.
According to the strongly-worded letter from the NBC to the management of Channels TV, the interview was in contravention of several of the broadcast codes and extant laws of the country.
It said Channels TV was “liable to the suspension of its licence and a fine of N5million provided in Section 15 of the code for its infractions.”
NBC cited sections 3.11.1(b) and 5.4.3 of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code as having been violated by the TV station.
The letter reads in part: “In the programme, a so-called new leader of IPOB made several secessionist and inciting declarations on air without caution or reprimand by your station.
“He also made derogatory, false, and misleading statements about the Nigerian Army.
“This is reprehensible especially that IPOB remains a proscribed organisation as pronounced by the law courts of the land. This much Channels ought to know and respect.”
NBC, however, directed an immediate cessation of the programme and cautioned that “Channels owes the country the responsibility for a true professional and ethically guided broadcasting especially at times of crisis.”
However, it is not clear whether NBC will immediately enforce the sanctions or allow an appeal by the broadcast station but as at the time of filing this report at 5.55pm and hours after the Commission’s letter was sent to the management of the TV station, it was still broadcasting to its audience within and outside the country.