LAI Mohammad, minister of information and culture, says the Federal Government will sanction the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Daily Trust for glorifying terrorism in Nigeria.
Speaking in Abuja on Thursday, the minister said recent documentaries produced by the media houses glorified terrorism and banditry.
“Let me assure you, and they will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
“When otherwise reputable platforms like BBC give their platform to terrorists, showing their faces as if they’re Nollywood stars… I want to assure them that they won’t get away with it. The appropriate sanctions will be meted,” he said.
BBC Africa Eye published a 50-minute documentary titled ‘The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara’, which offered a close view into the booming kidnap-for-ransom industry, and how Zamfara’s insecurity may have been brought on by the ethnic conflict between Hausa and Fulani groups.
In a 50-minute documentary titled ‘The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara’, published on Monday, the BBC Africa Eye provided insight into the mindset of bandit kingpins, the booming kidnap-for-ransom industry, and how Zamfara’s failing security infrastructure has led to ethnic conflict between Hausa and Fulani groups.
In March, Daily Trust TV, an arm of Daily Trust Newspaper, published a special report and documentary which exposed major issues around banditry in Nigeria.
Non-state actors like Bello Turji were interviewed in the documentary, a bandit leader who was recently coronated chief operating in Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger states.
“All I can say is that there is a regulatory body, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and they are also aware of these incidents and are looking at which part of the broadcasting codes have been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust,” the minister said.
“But I can assure you that there will be consequences. For those who will argue that BBC is a foreign broadcaster and, as such, it is not licensed by NBC, let me assure you, they will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
“I have often said that the media is the oxygen the terrorists and bandits need to breathe. When other reputable platforms like BBC now give their platform to terrorists, showing their faces as if they are Nollywood stars, what does that means? I want to assure them they won’t get away with it. There are sanctions to be meted on both the BBC and the Daily Trust,” he said.
Amos Abba is a journalist with the International Center for Investigative Reporting, ICIR, who believes that courageous investigative reporting is the key to social justice and accountability in the society.