Ortom’s interview: NBC Queries Channels TV, As DSS Picks 2 of Station’s Journalists

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NIGERIA’s broadcast regulator, National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), on Thursday queried Channels Television for alleged violation of the country’s broadcasting code during its breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, on Tuesday in its interview with Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom.

According to the NBC, Governor Ortom’s comments during the programme were “inciting, divisive and unfair” being reference to his biting criticism of the Buhari administration’s mishandling of the series of attacks on Benue State and other states across the country by suspected Fulani herdsmen over the past four or five years.

The NBC, in the query signed by its Director General, Balarabe Ilelah, accused Channels Television of not “thoroughly interrogating” the comments made by Governor Ortom.  “Consequently, Channels Television is required to explain why appropriate sanctions should not be applied for these infractions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Your response should reach the Commission within 24 hours of the receipt of this letter,” the query reads.

Governor Ortom, while expressing dismay on the situation and the general insecurity in the country, accused President Buhari of an alleged conspiracy to Fulanise Nigeria.

“Mr President is pushing me to think that what they say about him, that he has a hidden agenda in this country is true because it is very clear that he wants to Fulanise but he is not the first Fulani president. Shagari was a Fulani President, Yar’Adua was a Fulani President and they were the best in the history. But President Buhari is the worst president when it comes to issues of security and keeping his promises.

“Go back to 2015, what did he say, human rights issues, he talked about press freedom, about the economy, corruption, security. Tell me one that Mr President has achieved.

“He has achieved some level of development in other sectors but these prominent things that are concerns to Nigerians and we are all worried about, tell me when Mr President has come out to address them. Is it corruption? We are worse in the history of this country,” Governor Ortom said among other criticisms.

It will be recalled that the NBC had in October 2020 queried and subsequently fined the station along others, the sum of N3 million naira for their reportage of the #EndSARs protest. The station was also in April 2021 warned over an interview it had with the spokesperson of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB). Shortly after in May, the station was again fined N5 million for another violation of the broadcasting code.

DSS picks interviewers

Meanwhile, the Department of State Services (DSS), Nigeria’s secret police, reportedly picked up two of Channels’ broadcasters, Chambalain Uso and Kayode Okikiola, on Thursday by plainclothes officers over Ortom’s interview as well as another interview it held with Commodore Kunle Olawunmi (rtd) on the insecurity situation in the country.

Retired Commodore Olawunmi had revealed in his interview that there are people in the Buhari government who are sponsors of Boko Haram. He said security reports to that effect had been made available to the president by a committee he had served in apart from reports on the alleged sponsors of Boko Haram which had been provided by the government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

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