The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is unfazed by the Federal Government of Nigeria’s seeming attempt to muzzle the media.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) fined the multimedia wing of Media Trust Limited N5million for its “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”.
The rest are Multichoice Nigeria Limited (DSTV owners), NTA-Startimes Limited, and Telcom Satellite Limited (TSTV) – N5million each.
The NBC informed the public that they all violated the broadcasting code by airing documentaries on banditry and terrorism.
The authorities consider the visuals damaging, with citizens already furious about the country’s worsening insecurity further enraged.
However, BBC sources accused the Nigerian government of trying to force the media to underreport the extent of damage done by non-state actors (NSAs).
“We published another one (documentary), and will do more because it’s about the people suffering”, one hinted.
“They (government) did not impose a fine on us because they knew they could not do so.
“What they can do is write to the agency that regulates us, the Office of Communications (Ofcom).
“They definitely would ask Ofcom to take disciplinary actions; they cannot do anything other than that.
“After Trust TV spoke with the victims, we interviewed the NSAs – Ado Aleru, the one turbaned, and Abu Sanni who led the Jangebe school attack,” the source said.
The duo have been terrorizing Zamfara. In mid-July, Aleru (Alieru) was named Sarkin Fulani (King of Fulanis) of Yandoton Daji Emirate.
He was installed by Aliyu Garba Marafa, the Emir of Yandoto, despite being on the police wanted list for kidnapping and killings.
In February 2021, Sanni’s gang abducted nearly 300 students of Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe.
In BBC’s ‘The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara’, he narrated how the Nigerian government paid millions for the release of the girls.
Sanni disclosed that they struck in retaliation for military operations after the wet period in 2020.
“When the rainy season ended, they sent the military. We decided to show the government they should not interfere in our problems. We went to Jangebe and took the students.
“We wanted to get the government angry. We demanded N300million but after negotiations, N60million was paid for their release”, he revealed.
Yusuf Anka, a journalist with the United Kingdom national broadcaster, met with the bandit leaders in their enclaves.
The NBC action announced on Wednesday followed last week’s comments by Information Minister, Lai Mohammed.
“Appropriate sanctions will be meted to both the BBC and the Trust TV. They will not get away with the naked glorification of terrorism and banditry.
“When otherwise reputable platforms like BBC can give their platform to terrorists showing their faces as if they are Nollywood stars, it is unfortunate.
“If they are not registered in Nigeria and they are only sending their signals to Nigeria, we will ask them to stop sending the signals”, he said.
Mohammed added that during the IRA (Irish Republican Army) days, “the BBC will not dare do what they are doing now in Nigeria”.