THE National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has queried Channels Television over its recent interview with Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom.
NBC Director-General Balarabe Ilelah, in a statement dated August 24, said the interview in which Ortom talked extensively on President Muhammadu Buhari’s decision to resuscitate about 368 grazing reserves in 25 states contained inciting, divisive and unfair comments.
Ilelah noted that the station violated six of its codes during the broadcast of the interview.
“The National Broadcasting Commission monitors the broadcast of your program Sunrise Daily between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m. on Tuesday,” it 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,” the NBC said.
Within 24 hours of receiving its letter, the commission asked Channels TV to explain why it should not be sanctioned.
Ortom had, during the interview which aired on Tuesday, expressed his disappointment with President Buhari over his insistence to revive the grazing sites, which experts had said died immediately after the country’s independence.
Ortom noted that Buhari’s decision to continue with the programme despite its rejection by all stakeholders, including the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), the Southern Governors Forum and Miyatti Allah, meant that Buhari had an agenda to ‘Fulanise’ Nigeria.
He said the president’s decision was unconstitutional and he should apologise to all Nigerians.
“I’m disappointed with the presidency. One would expect that we’re in a democratic governance and the presidency would have understood this,” Ortom had said.
“I think Mr President was misquoted or he did it out of error. He should come out to apologise to Nigerians. There is no basis whatsoever for this to be going on when we have the constitution.”
Tempers have continued to flare across the country since President Buhari approved, in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu, the recommendations of a committee to review ‘with dispatch’ 368 grazing sites across 25 states in the country ‘to determine the levels of encroachment.’
The committee, chaired by Buhari’s Chief of Staff Ibrahim Gambari, had recommended collecting field data on 368 grazing reserves across 25 states to assess encroachment and encroachers, stakeholder engagements, and sensitisation.
The Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere, has described the president’s decision as a sweet pipe dream in a fool’s paradise.
Afenifere’s Secretary-General Olusola Ebiseni, in a statement on Friday, said Buhari was wasting taxpayers’ scarce resources on a programme whose conception lacked all conceivable growth capacity.