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BCOS gets NBC’s Nod to Convert Relay Stations



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National Broadcasting Commission has granted operating licenses to the Oyo State government to convert two relay stations of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State, BCOS to full-fledged radio stations.
The former relay stations in Gambari near Ogbomoso and Alaga in Oyo North have now been licensed to operate as radio stations under the stable of BCOS.
Prince Dotun Oyelade, special adviser to the Governor on Public Communications said that by this development, the relay station in Gambari becomes Ajilete FM while the one in Alaga will henceforth be known as Oke-Ogun FM, Ajilete FM will continue to transmit on 92.1 Mega Hertz and Oke Ogun FM will remain on 96.3 Mega Hertz.
Meanwhile, Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala, governor of the state has endorsed the decision of the management and board of BCOS to reopen the Corporation’s abandoned facilities at Oje-Owode and Ipapo.  Oje-Owode will serve as news, programmes and advertisement collection centre while Ipapo will serve as Radio O.Y.O. relay station.
In addition, the governor has approved the establishment of new offices for the Corporation in Oyo, Ogbomoso and Eruwa townships.  They will also serve as news, programmes and advertisement collection centres.
The emerging radio stations and the expansion of the operations of BCOS to other parts of the State will fulfill the objective of this administration to take optimum information dissemination facilities to the grassroots.  Such facilities will serve as veritable moderators in the relationship between the Government and the people.
All these developments are in fulfillment of Governor Akala’s promise two years ago to restore the BCOS to its glorious past.



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#EndSARS: FG Seeks to Change Narratives on Lekki Shooting



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Federal government has tasked the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and local media in Nigeria to change the narratives on the alleged massacre of #EndSARS protesters at the Lekki Tollgate on October 20, 2020.

#EndSARS: FG Seeks to Change Narratives on Lekki Shooting

Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, made this known on Friday at a stakeholder meeting with the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) held in Abuja.

The minister was reacting to the controversial report by the American Cable News Network (CNN) which it said had acknowledged their letter of complaint and promised to probe same on its merit.

He accused CNN of spreading fake news by switching casualty figures at Lekki Tollgate so casually without a “credible source, hence, its decision to write a letter to CNN asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its investigation.”

His words: “It is baffling that an organization like CNN will rely on unauthenticated videos to carry out an investigation

“More worrisome is that an international broadcaster like CNN will switch casualty figures so casually without a credible source.

“This is why we have written a letter to CNN asking it to use its own internal mechanism to probe its investigation.

“We have received an acknowledgement of our letter, saying the letter has been referred to CNN’s Editorial Team.

“We await the outcome of their probe, but that’s without prejudice to whatever we may decide to do as a government.

“We will not sit by and allow any news organization, local or foreign, to set Nigeria on fire with irresponsible and unprofessional reporting.

“CNN did not have a reporter or cameraman at the Lekki Toll Gate on the night in question, yet it emphatically reported a hoax story.

“Conversely, the BBC that had a reporter and an editor on the ground reported that soldiers shot into the air, not at protesters. I will rather believe the person on the ground than the one who is thousands of kilometres away.

“Since we sent our letter, CNN has been grasping at straws in desperation, to justify its inaccurate and unbalanced investigation.’But in the process, it is sinking more and more into professional infamy.

“Yesterday, Nov. 26th that is, in the clearest indication yet of its confusion over the Lekki Toll Gate incident, CNN tried to clarify

“Its tweet of Oct. 23rd by saying it never attributed the death toll of 38 to Amnesty International and that the tweet also did not make it clear that the death toll was for protests across the country.

“Commentators on the tweet tried to redirect CNN to the issue: which is its tweet of Oct. 23rd in which it said ”At least 38 people were killed in Nigeria on Tuesday (Oct. 20th) when the military opened fire on peaceful protesters.”

“This is very unambiguous and CNN is exhibiting panic by seeking to clarify its tweet some 35 days later! Instead of engaging in such panic, CNN should come clean by admitting that it goofed badly on the Lekki Tollgate incident.

“But the big lesson to draw from CNN’s faux pas is that it magnifies the failure or inadequacy of our own broadcast organizations.

“In the wake of our spat with CNN, people are asking: Why didn’t our own broadcast stations take the lead in reporting the incident at Lekki?

“Why didn’t they take the lead in presenting an authentic narrative? Why must we allow the foreign broadcast stations, some of which didn’t even have correspondents on ground, to dictate the pace, thus misleading the world? These are questions begging for answers and I think for BON, this must form part of their review of the coverage of the incident.”

On the role of the security agencies during and after the #EndSARS protest, the Minister said they acted professionally as they also restrained themselves, which helped to save many lives,

“The security agencies, in particular the police and soldiers, acted within their rules of engagement. The reporting of the #EndSARS protest has been skewed against the security agencies.

“While most reports have become fixated on the so-called massacre at the Lekki Tollgate, only a few have highlighted the attacks and killings of security agents, as well as the destruction of public and private property. This is selective perception and it is condemnable.

“For the record, six soldiers and 37 policemen were killed all over the country during the crisis. Also, 196 policemen were injured; 164 police vehicles were destroyed and 134 police stations burnt down.

“The killing of the policemen was particularly gruesome and dastardly. Yet, human rights organizations and the media have not given this the attention it deserved.

“Rather, they have remained fixated on the so-called massacre. It seems human rights do not matter for men and women in uniform. This is unfortunate and must be corrected. Please note that the violence also left 57 civilians dead, 26 private/corporate facilities burnt/looted/vandalized, 243 government facilities burnt/vandalized and 81 government warehouses looted”, he stated.

While reiterating government’s plan to regulate the social media, Mohammed assured that the administration has no plan to stifle free speech, neither does it have any intention of shutting down the internet but has decided to act to ensure a responsible use of social media.

“Social media has come to stay, and those who use it responsibly have nothing to fear. But we cannot give the same assurance for those who weaponize social media.

“By the way, the issue of regulating social media content is generating debate around the world, so Nigeria is not an exception”, he said.

On the N3m fine imposed on three television stations on the aftermath of #EndSARS by National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for using unverified and dangerous information from social media, Mohammed said two of the stations have so far paid in full, while one has paid in part.

He, however, appealed to broadcast stations to avoid using unverified information from social media, as this is fraught with danger.

He insisted that despite the temptation, the stations must adhere strictly to the gate-keeping tradition instead of rushing to use materials that are not authenticated.

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Minister Condoles With BON Chairperson Over Husband’s Death



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Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, has condoled with Hajia Sa’a Ibrahim, the Chairperson of the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and managing director of the Abubakar Rimi Television, Kano, over the recent death of Alhaji Abba Ado Gwarzo, her husband.

Minister Condoles With BON Chairperson Over Husband's Death

Lai Mohammed

In a statement issued in Abuja on Friday, the minister said the death of Alhaji Gwarzo, a veteran broadcaster and an active member of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, was a huge loss not only to the journalism profession and Kano State but to the nation in general.

He urged Hajia Ibrahim and the entire family to take solace in the fact that the deceased left an indelible mark in the service of humanity through his years in journalism, during which he worked at the Nigerian Television Authority, Hausa Service of the German International Radio, Deutsche Welle, and the African Independent Television.

Alhaji Mohammed prayed to God to grant repose to the soul of the deceased and also grant his family, colleagues and the people of Kano State the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss.

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Despite Video Evidence, Lai Mohammed Denies N5m Hate Speech Fine



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Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, has denied announcing an increment in the fine for hate speech from N500, 000 to N5m, despite video evidence stating otherwise.

Despite Video Evidence, Lai Mohammed Denies N5m Hate Speech Fine

Mohammed, who on August 5, 2020, announced the decision of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to increase the fine for hate speech stated on oath that he did not do so.

The minister said this in a counter-affidavit in response to an originating motion filed before a Federal High Court in Lagos, by Inibehe Effiong, human rights lawyer.

Effiong is challenging the imposition of N5m fine on Nigeria Info 99.3FM Lagos and the threat by the National Broadcasting Commission to punish other broadcast stations in the country over alleged hate speech.

In an affidavit deposed to by Sunday Ojobo, Litigation Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the minister stated that he never announced the fine.

The affidavit further read, “Paragraph 19 is denied. The 2nd defendant (Mohammed) did not announce an increment in any fine for hate speech from N500,000 to N5,000,000 or any other because there is a governmental body or institution mandated to regulate and enforce the Nigerian Broadcasting Code.”

The minister further stated that the constitution allows for human rights to be suspended for the sake of national interest.

He wrote, “The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for derogation from fundamental rights in the interest of public safety, public order and for the purpose of protecting the rights and freedom of other persons.”

Mohammed further stated that the NBC Act gives the commission the power to sanction stations that contravene its code.

The minister also argued that Effiong was not directly affected by the NBC sanctions and therefore lacked the legal right to challenge NBC’s Code.

He added, “The 1st respondent (NBC) has powers in determining and applying sanctions including revocation of licences of defaulting stations which do not operate in accordance with the broadcast code and in the public interest.

“A public affairs commentator, anchor of programmes and the media are not to use their platform to incite public violence or disorder or in a manner detrimental to the national interest.

“It is within the purview of the Federal Government of Nigeria to maintain public safety, public order in the interest of all citizens of Nigeria to avoid breakdown of law and order.”

In its response to the suit, NBC insisted that it had the right to sanction errant stations.

In an affidavit deposed to by Kabir Fabode, a litigation clerk, from Adeola Adewara and Co, the commission stated that the applicant was not a broadcaster and therefore lacked the right to challenge its actions.

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