February 2, 2022

NBC muzzles Vision FM over program discussing alleged corruption of NIA boss

By Ibrahim Hassan-Wuyo 

For allegedly discussing the controversial extension of the appointment of the Director-General of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA),Rufai Abubakar, the National Broadcasting Commission ( NBC) has sanctioned an Abuja-based radio station, Vision FM.

A letter to that effect addressed to Vision FM’s Managing Director on Wednesday, stated that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) claimed it sanctioned the broadcasting outfit for airing content harmful to the country’s national security in one of its programmes, ‘Idon Mikiya’ on January 5, 2022.

In the letter, it was stated that “the station breached section 39 (3) (b) of the 1999 constitution that imposed restrictions on issues relating to government security services or agencies.”

The NBC stated that the radio stations’s discussion of issues, including the appointment of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) constituted a breach of the provision of section 39 (3) (b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which imposed restrictions on matters concerning government security services or agencies established by law.

NBC therefore, fined the media outlet N5 million and suspended the programme for six months, starting from January 28, 2022.

“Transmitting trade secrets and other issues regarding a national security agency is  an act prejudicial to Nigeria’s national security, ” NBC warned. 

Keen watchers said the development was an attempt to muzzle Nigerian media.

Recall that media houses were  warned that outlets caught flouting the archaic broadcasting codes would be summoned to explain themselves.

President Buhari had extended the tenure of Mr.  Rufai as the DG of NIA, despite internal protests against his reappointment.

Critics had questioned the appointment of Mr. Rufai in 2018 ,leaving in its wake series of allegations over his appointment.