The internal crisis between the management and Board of the National Broadcasting Commission worsened on Thursday with the board distancing itself from the 6th review edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
The board which insisted that its inputs were not sought or collated to make up the amendment, alleged that the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, singlehandedly spearheaded the new amendment, describing it as strange in the history of the nation’s broadcast industry.
Several calls and SMS to the Minister’s Special Assistant (Media), Segun Adeyemi, for response were not replied.
The chairman of the NBC Board, Ikra Bilbis, during a crowded press conference held in Abuja, said the procedures for the review which were undertaken every four years involving staff of the NBC, former DGs, retired Directors and all other relevant stakeholders in broadcasting was flouted.
“The minister’s version of the revised code does not meet any known criteria of due process and inclusiveness of stakeholders,” he said.
According to him, the minister sidelined the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria, Independent Broadcast Association of Nigeria, private media outfits, broadcasters, notable media intellectuals, communication experts, digit team and the academia and singlehandedly carried out the review.
Bilbis said the current amended edition 6th edition was presented to the public in 2019 at an elaborate ceremony in Kano which attracted a broad section of various stakeholders.
He explained that following the 2019 national elections, some members of the Federal Executive Council made observations to Mohammed at a FEC meeting about the divisive broadcasts engaged in by some broadcast media before, during and after the elections and the need to strengthen the operations of the NBC to avert such future occurrence.
The chairman said, “This noble observation of Mr. President was unfortunately misunderstood by the minister of information. Instead of studying and following the law, relevant rules and regulations, and direct the appropriate authorities as stipulated by the law to act on, he erroneously embarked on the review alone.
“From the history, traditions and the convention of the NBC, no Minister of Information has ever interfered in any NBC Code review. After the 2019 presentation of the 6th code (which is the present one), the minister has acted alone with just a handful of his loyalists who have written a new NB Code that has created uproar in the industry, threatening to destroy investments and lead to job losses.
“The NBC Code is a regulatory framework put together jointly by stakeholders to guide their operations in the industry. It is therefore not a unilateral government instrument and is already covered by law hence, not requiring any further Presidential approval. This might be the reason why till date the Hon. Minister cannot show us a copy of the Presidential approval.
“President Buhari is a stickler for due process and he always insists on organisations doing the right thing. The Minister’s version of the revised code does not meet any known criteria of due process and inclusiveness of stakeholders.”