The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has fined a Lagos-based radio station, Nigeria Info 99.3FM, the sum of N5 million for unprofessional conduct.
The commission in a statement on Thursday, August 13, 2020, accused the radio station of providing a platform for the promotion of unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime, and lead to public disorder.
A former presidential candidate, Obadiah Mailafia, had made some claims that attracted public curiosity when he appeared as a guest on the station’s ‘Morning Cross Fire’ programme on Monday, August 10.
Mailafia claimed he had an intelligence report that a northern state governor is a commander of Boko Haram.
He said he got the information from talking to some former fighters of the terrorist group that has wreaked havoc in the northeast over the past 11 years.
The former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) also claimed that Boko Haram is planning an invasion of the southern region in a bid to trigger a second civil war.
NBC said on Thursday Mailafia’s comments were devoid of facts and that broadcasting the comments was in violation of certain sections of the controversial sixth edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“This is expected to serve as a deterrent to all other broadcast stations in Nigeria who are quick to provide platform for subversive rhetoric and the expositions of spurious and unverifiable claims, to desist from such,” the commission said.
The latest code edition was recently signed despite a wave of criticism from the public who noted that it’s an attempt to further trample on press freedom in the country, an allegation that has consistently trailed President Muhammadu Buhari’s government.
Mailafia was also invited to meet with the Department of State Services (DSS) on Wednesday, August 12 to corroborate his claims.
After the interview which took over five hours, the former presidential candidate admitted that some of his claims could not be corroborated, but he insisted he was not a sensationalist.
“I know that I should have taken more care to corroborate some of the information I received, but perhaps some of it was uncorroborated,” he told journalists.
A group of protesters staged a demonstration outside the DSS office in Jos while he was being questioned, and accused the agency of victimising him for speaking the truth.