February 21, 2019
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Sack NBC DG for circulating hate speeches, PI writes Osinbajo

The pan-African digital rights advocacy group, Paradigm Initiative has written to the Acting President Yemi Osinbajo to terminate the appointment of Modibbo Kawu as Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).

A prominent online platform had reported few days ago that Kawu, who has slammed arbitrary fines on media organisations for allegedly broadcasting hate speeches was caught spewing vicious propaganda on WhatsApp.

It was reported that the NBC boss who has led the charge against government-defined hate speech, shocked many in a WhatsApp group of northern editors and intellectuals last week Thursday morning (August 2) after going on a hate-filled tirade targeted at Senate President Bukola Saraki.

The report said Kawu, also of Kwara State, ventilated about Saraki’s influence on Kwara people and said the situation has gone beyond normal.

The NBC chief was quoted shortly before 9:00 a.m. Thursday saying, “It is not the “natural” human condition to continuously vote for a kleptocratic hegemony such as Saraki has imposed on our dear Kwara State.

“Bukola Saraki’s hegemony has been responsible for a systematic underdevelopment of Kwara; the entrenchment of a pattern of cult killings and blood letting that’s unique.

“And over a three year period, 2010, 2011, and 2013, tens of people were killed in stampede in front of the offices and residence of the Saraki. Even the Offa “robbery” where 33 people died was far more like their pattern of ritual killings than robbery!

“How much money do they have in Offa banks that 33 people had to be killed? These are questions people ask in Kwara.

“Hopefully the incredibly arrogant Bukola Saraki, whose family has no Asali whatsoever, has finally arrived at a denouement! Nothing lasts forever; not a kleptocratic hegemony; not an oppressive domination of a state by a family, which really isn’t even from our state!”

But reacting to the development in a letter sent to the Acting President on Wednesday August 8, which a copy was made available to our correspondent by PI’s communication officer, Sodiq Alabi, the group urged the acting president to relieve the DG of the NBC of his duties.

According to the group, “this is to allow for fair investigation of comments attributed to him and to serve as a needed example and precedent for politicians and public officers irrespective of political affiliation.”

It said Kawu’s duty as the Director-General of the NBC entails ensuring that the execution of the policies of the commission and its day-to-day administration is carried out smoothly.

The organization further noted that “in carrying out this responsibility… several sanctions and heavy fines have been imposed by the DG against radio, television stations and media houses who have been adjudged as promoting “anti-democratic” content such as misinformation and content capable of inciting violence or causing disaffection in the polity.”

Also, Program Manager of the group, Boye Adegoke lamented involvement of NBC Chief in what he described as something ‘sensitive’ which can lead to chaos and truncate peaceful co-existence of Nigeria.

He said, “Given the sensitive nature of Mr. Modibbo’s position and role in the affairs of the NBC, it is highly unbecoming of him to be seen creating and promoting such inciting content.

“Not only are his actions inappropriate and unbefitting of a public servant but also unacceptable of the Director-General of the Commission responsible for amongst other things, regulating and controlling the broadcasting Industry in Nigeria.

“At a time when the Nigerian government is putting in efforts to curb fake news, hate speech and harmful content, it is almost laughable that the very person put in the frontline of championing this cause is reported to be engaging in acts such as this.”

He, however, urged acting president to act on the matter as soon as possible saying “Nigeria is a democratic nation in which no one should be above the law and in which equity and justice prevail.”

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