Hate speech: NBC fines Nigeria Info N5m over Mailaifa’s comment

Obadiah Mailaifa

The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has imposed a N5 million fine on a radio station Nigeria Info for a recent comment made by a former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Obadiah Mailaifa.

NBC stated this in a release on Thursday. The body had only recently increased the hate speech fine from N500,000 to N5 million.

During an interview on the radio station’s programme Morning Cross Fire, Mailaifa said some active players in the killings in Southern Kaduna said a governor in the northern region was the commander of Boko Haram.

“They (bandits) told us that one of the northern governors is the commander of Boko Haram in Nigeria. Boko Haram and the bandits are one and the same. They have a sophisticated network. During this lockdown their planes were moving up and down as if there was no lockdown.

“They were moving ammunition, moving money, and distributing them across different parts of the country,” the former Presidential candidate of the African Democratic Congress said.

Mailaifa was questioned for six hours at the office of the Department of State Services (DSS) in Jos, Plateau State on Wednesday over his comment.

Sanctioning the broadcast station for his comment, the NBA said it “has noted with grave concern, the unprofessional conduct of Nigeria Info 99.3FM, Lagos, in the handling of the Programme, ‘Morning Cross Fire’, aired on August 10, 2020, between 8.30 am and 9.00 am.

“The station provided its platform for the guest, Dr. Mailafia Obadiah, to promote unverifiable and inciting views that could encourage or incite to crime and lead to public disorder.”

The commission said his comments were devoid of facts and by broadcasting same to the public, Nigeria Info was in violation of several sections of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

“The Commission wishes to put it on record that it will not hesitate to suspend the Broadcast licence of broadcast stations that continue to breach the Code.

“Stations are, by this statement, admonished to desist forthwith, from airing unwholesome content, or be ready to face appropriate sanctions,” the statement added.