The federal government says it will penalise the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Daily Trust over their documentaries on terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
Lai Mohammad, minister of information and culture, said this in Abuja on Thursday.
“Let me assure you, they will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria,” Mohammad said.
“When otherwise reputable platforms like BBC give their platform to terrorists, showing their faces as if they’re Nollywood stars… I want to assure them that they won’t get away with it, the appropriate sanctions will be meted.”
In a 50-minute documentary titled ‘The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara’, published on Monday, the BBC Africa Eye provided insight into the mindset of bandit kingpins, the booming kidnap-for-ransom industry, and how Zamfara’s insecurity may have been brought on by the ethnic conflict between Hausa and Fulani groups.
In March, Daily Trust TV, an arm of Daily Trust Newspaper, published a special report and documentary which exposed major issues around banditry in Nigeria. Non-state actors like Bello Turji was interviewed in the documentary.
Bello Kachalla, better known as Turji, is a notorious bandit leader who operates in northern Nigeria, particularly Zamfara, Sokoto and Niger state.
“All I can say is that there is a regulatory body, the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and they are also aware of these incidents and are looking at which part of the broadcasting codes have been violated by both the BBC and the Daily Trust,” the minister said.
“But I can assure you that there will be consequences. For those who will argue that BBC is a foreign broadcaster and as such, it is not licensed by NBC, let me assure you, they will not get away with this naked glorification of terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
“I have said it many times here that the media is the oxygen that the terrorists and bandits need to breathe. When other reputable platforms like BBC now give their platform to terrorists, showing their faces as if they are Nollywood stars, what does that means? I want to assure them they won’t get away with it. There are sanctions to be meted on both the BBC and the Daily Trust.”