The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has directed the suspension of Channels Television’s ‘Politics Today’, after a leader of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) was interviewed during the programme.
In a letter addressed to the managing director of the TV station, Armstrong Idachaba, acting NBC director-general, said Emma Powerful, the IPOB spokesperson, made inciting comments without being cautioned during the programme.
Idachaba added that the station is also liable to a suspension of its licence and a fine of N5 million for breaching the broadcasting code.
However, the only sanction imposed by NBC is the suspension of the programme.
IPOB, which was formed in 2012 by Nnamdi Kanu, was designated as a terrorist organisation by the Nigerian government in 2017.
On Sunday, Powerful was featured on the TV programme during which he spoke about the group’s activities.
The NBC DG said the IPOB programme content “amounts to subversion of constituted authority.”
“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,” the April 26 letter read.
“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.
“The programme was very clearly in violation of the provisions of the code, and extant provisions of the broadcasting act. Refer Sections 3.11.1(b) and 5.43 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code which state the following; ‘311 1(b) The Broadcaster shall ensure that no programme contains anything which amounts to subversion of constituted authority or compromises the unity or corporate existence of Nigeria as a sovereign state.’
“For obviously breaching the above provisions of the law, your station remains liable to sanctions provided in section 15 of the code which prescribes among others — suspension of broadcast licence and a fine of N5 million.”
Idachaba added that the station needs to be ethical and professional “especially at times of crisis”.