June 14, 2009

Pro-Buhari group threatens NBC with legal action

By AbdulSalam Muhammad

KANO — Pro-Buhari political group in Kano, Buhari Network for Change, has given two weeks ultimatum to the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to explain why it directed radio stations in the country to stop airing its paid jingle or face legal action.

The Publicity Secretary of the Group, Alhaji Mustapha Yau, told journalists in Kano that the decision to seek formal explanation from NBC arose from the recent directive by the Board to a Kaduna-based private radio station to stop further airing of the ‘controversial jingle’.

Yau, who accused the NBC of ‘abuse of power’, noted that the recent directives by the Commission contravened the group’s right to expression under a democratic setting.

Surrounded by stalwarts of the Group during the press conference at its headquarters in Kano, Yau stated that the leadership of NBC has allowed itself to be drawn into purely political matters to settle scores, cautioning that retracing its step in these circumstances is necessary in the interest of good governance.

The NBC had, May 15th, directed a private local station in Kano to suspend further airing of General Buhari jingle sponsored by Buhari Network for Change alleging, among others, that the content is not only explosive but  capable of throwing the country into chaos.

Yau denied that the analogy drawn in the ‘controversial jingle’ is capable of unleashing chaos in the polity, maintaining that it was a wake-up call to Nigerians to ensure that the people’s will stands.

“The message contained in the jingle is harmless and the analogy drawn from several country where the will of the people triumph over the select few was in itself a wake-up call that if it happen elsewhere it can happen in Nigeria,” Yau explained.

He said that the NBC action was politically motivated to feather the nest of those in authority, stressing that the Group will resist what he called ‘flagrant abuse of power’ in the law court.

In an interview with an official of the NBC in Abuja, who spoke on condition of anonymity, the Commission lamented that the issue has been unnecessarily politicised, adding that the ‘controversial jingle’ contravenes relevant electoral clauses and existing broadcasting code.

The official explained that the Commission is encouraged by the decision of the group to seek legal redress against the backdrop of the fact that it is the prerogative of anyone that feel cheated by the system.