The Board of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on Thursday accused Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, of amending the country’s broadcasting code without due consultation with the commission.
The Board Chairman, Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, who disclosed this at a press conference in Abuja, said he received over 50 position papers for the sixth amendment of the code but none of the input was considered by the minister.
Bilbis was reacting to the increase in the fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5 million and various amendments to the broadcasting code announced by the minister a fortnight ago.
He insisted that the amendments would destroy investments and lead to job losses.
The NBC chairman also alleged that Mohammed had failed to show the approval of his own version of the recommendations by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Bilbis said: “Following the 2019 national elections, some members of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) made observations to the Honourable Minister of Information 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.
“This noble observation of Mr. President was unfortunately misunderstood by the Hon. 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.
“As a Board, we have received and taken our time to compile the responses of numerous stakeholders which include our Nobel Laureate, activists, legal practitioners, broadcasters, investors, BON, content creators, copyright experts and professional organisations. Most of them have adduced reasonable reasons against the proposed amendment.
“The NBC was set up by law and there is an Act that guides its operations. The Honourable Minister, therefore, cannot usurp the powers of the board as clearly stated in the Act. Any such action by the Honourable Minister is illegal.”