A human rights group, One Love Foundation has called on the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to reverse the suspension of Channels TV over an alleged breach the broadcast code.
The station was accused of allowing a leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Emma Powerful to make secessionist and inciting declarations on air without being cautioned or reprimanded by the station contrary to the broadcast code.
The foundation also threatened to approach a court of competent jurisdiction to set aside the directive and sanction, which it described as draconian.
A letter addressed to the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, and signed by the Global President of the Foundation, Patriot Patrick Eholor on Monday, described the action as an impediment to free speech and press freedom.
The group therefore urged NBC to rescind its decision and lift the suspension on the station and the N5 million fine for the live broadcast programme of Sunday, April 25, 2021.
Tbe statement read, “It came to our knowledge on 26th April, 2021, and to the knowledge of the group, One Love Foundation (a non-governmental organisation concerned with promotion of justice and human rights) wherein we got receipt of a very disturbing news that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended Channels TV, with five million naira (N5, 000, 000) fine, for the 7pm live broadcast programme of Sunday, 25th April, 2021, where Channels Television station spoke with Emma Powerful, being the spokesman for the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
“The suspension of Channels TV by the Professor Armstrong Idachaba-led NBC, as it stands is not just draconian, illegal and to say the least, but also is an impediment to free speech/and freedom of the press coupled with breaching of citizens’ right to receive and impart information. More importantly this is coming at a time there are serious issues that the NBC should concern itself with.
“Consequently, the above sanctions and suspension by NBC on Channels Television are a clear breach of the right to Freedom of Information as stipulated by the Nigerian Constitution, and since the code invoked by the NBC is in conflict with the provisions of the constitution, we demand that it be reversed immediately
“We as One Love Foundation are by this communique/press release requesting the National Broadcasting Commission to immediately reverse the suspension of Channels TV and the draconian sanction, failure of which, One Love Foundation’s legal team, headed by seasoned lawyers like Douglas Ogbunakwa and Ihensekhien Samuel Jnr and other eminent lawyers, will have no option but to approach the Federal High Court, Abuja to set aside this draconian and unconstitutional directive/sanction by NBC on Channels Television, we hope NBC heeds to wise counsel.”