Broadcast Code: Lai Mohammed’s version invalid – NBC Board member

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A member of the National Broadcasting Commission (Board), Mr. Salihu Bamidele Aluko, has stated that the revised National Broadcasting Code is not the regulatory framework for the industry.

Aluko, a lawyer, stated this in Abuja on Thursday while speaking at a press conference addressed by the NBC Board led by its Chairman, Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis.

The revised code, which has sparked a huge public outcry, was unveiled three weeks ago by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

Mohammed was pointedly accused by the NBC Board of unilaterally tinkering with the code after it had been publicly presented last year in Kano.

Aluko explained that the law setting up the commission is clear on what powers the minister has and what power the board has.

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“The NBC was set up by law, which clearly states what the minister can approve without the Board. This is clearly stated in the act. The Board of the NBC wishes to make clear that the only code we recognise and which we shall work with as the policy and standard of NBC is the 6th edition of NBC Code 2019.

“The review has no endorsement and therefore, is not recognised in the regulation of broadcasting of Nigeria,” declared Aluko.

He warned that the code presented by the minister carries the potential of resulting in investor confidence loss in the broadcasting industry ecosystem.

“The minister’s version of the revised NBC Code does not meet any criteria of due process and inclusiveness of stakeholders,” Aluko told journalists.

He accused Armstrong Idachaba, acting NBC Director-General, of falsely claiming that amendments to the code was endorsed by the Board before it was presented to the public in March.

“Nothing can be further from the truth. The public presentation was actually attended by serving directors in NBC, former DG of NBC, representatives of the ministry of information and four selected stakeholders,” said Aluko.

He explained that amendment to the code had been finalised in 2019 and publicly presented before the minister went back to unilaterally revise and presented it to the public in March during the lockdown imposed to curtail COVID-19 spread.

“There is a wide gap between the public presentation in Kano that attracted 60 stakeholders and that of Lagos. The Board of the NBC was neither informed nor represented. We may all recall that the 26th day of March 2020, when they did the public presentation in Lagos, the FG had announced Covid-19 lockdown in Lagos and Ogun states and the FCT,” said Aluko.

He noted that the outcry that greeted the Mohammed’s public presentation of the amended code, the Board initiated a process to invite stakeholder input, but that process was thwarted by the minister through Idachaba, who issued a counter-notice repudiating the Board’s.

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