By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Federal Government on Thursday vowed to punish the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Daily Trust over what it called the unprofessional airing of different documentaries that glorified and capable of fuelling terrorism in Nigeria.
The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed made the position known in Abuja.
He said the Federal Government has taken note of ‘’the unprofessional documentary by the BBC, Africa Eye, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs, thereby promoting terror in the country’’.
Mohammed, however noted that the industry regulator, the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission had been notified about the 2 incidents for appropriate action to be taken.
He further lampooned the BBC for throwing caution to the wind by not upholding the same standards and tenets as they would have done in the UK, even as he also descried the action of Daily Trust for performing below expectation.
The minister who vowed to sanction the two media houses for flouting the broadcasting code, assured that the NBC would take the necessary action to sanction them in due course after confirming the part of the broadcasting code that has been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust .
“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.’’
Continuing, the minister 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.
It will be recalled that the British Broadcasting Commission had few days ago in a documentary, titled: 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.
In the 50-minute documentary titled ‘The Bandit warlords of Zamfara’ was prepared by Yusuf Anka, a journalist conversant with remote bandit enclaves in the state, which is one of the worst-hit states by banditry.
In the programme, the self-confessed bandit kingpin affirmed that ‘‘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’’.