NBC summons Channel TV presenters over anti-Buhari interviews

The National Broadcasting Commission has summoned Channels Television presenters, Chamberlain Usoh and Kayode Okikiolu, The PUNCH has learnt.

Usoh, Okikiolu and two other anchors of the TV’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme were invited to the Abuja office of the regulator on Thursday over some comments made against the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) by two guests on the programme this week.

Competent sources confirmed to our correspondents that the presenters who left Lagos this morning to honour the invitation are already in Abuja.

Another source said the presenters are at the NBC office with their lawyer.

“The presenters already in Abuja,” the sources familiar with the issue told our correspondents.

The NBC, it was gathered, is not comfortable with an interview granted the private television station by the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, who said he was disappointed with the way the Presidency is handling the nation’s security challenges.

It was also gathered that the commission is not comfortable with an interview granted by a former Navy Commodore, Kunle Olawunmi, who alleged that current members of the Buhari cabinet are Boko Haram sponsors.

The PUNCH had earlier reported that the NBC queried Channels Television over the “inciting, divisive and unfair comments” made by Ortom on the programme on Tuesday.

NBC made this known in a letter to the television station titled, ‘Notice of Infraction’.

The regulator’s letter was dated August 24, 2021, and signed by its Director-General, Balarabe Ilelah.

NBC said, “The programme which had as guest the Executive Governor of Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom, was observed to contain inciting, divisive and unfair comments which were not thoroughly interrogated by the anchors.”

It said the actions allegedly negated Sections 1.10.4, 3.1.1, 3.3.1(b), 3.3.1(e), 3.11.1(a), and 3.12.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

“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 NBC said.

The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed had been severely criticised in recent times for taking unpopular steps in an attempt to gag the media.

The NBC, under Mohammed, had in May slammed a fine of N5million each on Channels TV and Inspiration FM Lagos for alleged infractions of the broadcasting code.

Channels TV had featured the spokesperson for the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra, Emma Powerful, on its ‘Politics Today’ programme.

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