By Hamid Hendrix
There must be more than writing on human rights in the persistent targeting of the National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) Director General (DG), Ishaq Modibbo Kawu with a barrage of unfounded allegations and calls for his removal by the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA). Barely a month after HURIWA’s last unwarranted contrived criticism of the director general unscrupulously alleging the mismanagement of a non-existent N2 billion supposedly meant for the digitization of broadcasting by the NBC, the rabble-rousing association is at it again, this time accusing the NBC’s director general of “Islamo- dictatorial tendencies and excessive penchant to compel broadcasters to become praise singers of president Buhari or face arbitrary fines”.
The verifiable fact is that it was this same Ishaq Modibbo Kawu as director general of the NBC who initiated and saw to the provision of the first Christian worship chapel within the NBC premises since its inception almost a decade and a half ago.A fact that HURIWA deliberately and deceptively discarded in pursuit of its sinister agenda of mounting vicious vendetta against the director general, who should actually be commended for facilitating the human right of his Christian staff to worship freely on the NBC premises.
HURIWA is therefore re-writing “human rights” with pens hired by those who want to be director general of NBC by hook and crook, to propagate purported “claims of nepotism, favouritism and religious sentiments in the exercise of functions and duties of the office of the director general by the holder of that office currently in NBC” as contrived in its latest outrageous outbursts.
Apart from masking its mischievous meddlesomeness with a misnomer, HURIWA’s desperation to cling onto the human rights gravy trail without authentic pedigree confines it to the calumnious crevices of “a media affiliated civil rights organization” where it can hawk hear-say and launch smear campaigns withmercenary motives that give “media-affiliation” an unethical twist.
Typical of its serial spinning of spurious sleaze, HURIWA offers no iota of substantiation and often, as in the case of NBC DG, subtracts available information that debunks its disinformation. HURIWA claims it has been “inundated with complaints from all over the country” against some overbearing tendencies of the Director General of NBC, yet it could not name any of its complainants! Whatever “Islamo(sic)-dictatorial” means must be another fictitious figment of the induced hallucinations of HURIWA’s hired hacks in the light of the DG’s afore-mentioned verifiable affirmative action in facilitating Christian worship.
“NBC has since confirmed the infractions committed by the Ekiti State Radio and Television stations including the state government appointing the DG of the station as the DG of a campaign of one of the political parties.”
Not surprisingly, HURIWA continues to scavenge with its notoriety, aptly described by the EFCC as “ethnic and political agenda by some mischief makers masquerading as human rights writers” in one of its rebuttals of its pseudo anti-corruption campaigns, when it claims that the NBC DG compels broadcasters “to become praise singers of president Buhari or face arbitrary fines” and proceeds to state that Channels TV was fined N5 million in the month of July 2018 for refusing to be the propaganda machine of the government against National Assembly and Senator BukolaSaraki, that a radio station in Ibadan was fined N500,000 because a jingle critical of Fulani Herdsmen was aired and that Ekiti TV and Radio was shut down because the state governor, Ayo Fayose exposed how results were altered and rigged during the July 14th governorship elections” among other falsehoods and half truths.
Again, it is a verifiable fact that the NBC’s highest fine is N500,000, so it is also hereby verified that HURIWA is a fabricator as well as propagator of Fake News. You only need to click onto the NBC website to get a clear picture of its code and regulations, how much it fines (usually N100,000) and for what ( a mix of airing unsuitable/immoral music lyrics, Not To Be Broadcast (NTBB) videos and music, unverifiable claims of miracles, cures for incurable diseases, promoting negative myths, superstitious beliefs and superlative product attributes without proof of authentication and exceeding approved duration for adverts). At any rate, NBC usually issues cautions, invites offenders and allows some to repackage the adverts, before imposing fines which the stations, private and government owned from all over the country, generally pay their fines without any fuss!
“HURIWA is … re-writing “human rights” with pens hired by those who want to be director general of NBC by hook and crook, to propagate purported “claims of nepotism, favouritism and religious sentiments.”
HURIWA was also engaging in deliberately misleading propaganda on the Ekiti TV episode because the DG of NBC has since confirmed the infractions committed by the Ekiti State Radio and Television stations including the state government appointing the DG of the station as the DG of a campaign of one of the political parties and ignoring NBC’s directives and the state governor going to radio and television to announce his own results before INEC announced the results. Instructively, however and contrary to HURIWA’s political vendetta, the NBC also sanctionedOndo State Television Service (OSTS) for broadcasting hate speech against Ekiti State Governor, AyodeleFayose, during the governorship elections in the state!
The National Assembly and indeed the broadcast community would be reassured by the fact that the NBC DG has since embarked on the review of the NBC Act and the Broadcasting Code to strengthen and update it, rather than exploiting it as HURIWA suggested in yet another ill-motivated pseudo-advocacy for stricter regulation of the NBC, which also has a Board of Directors overseeing its operations.
HURIWA is clearly on an ethnic, religious and political mercenary mission against the human rights of certain individuals and interests targeted by its sponsors, whose identity is written between the lines of its flurry of fabricated media campaigns of calumny that disturbingly fail the test of factual authentication and sincerity of purpose. Human rights advocacy groups must resist the encroachment of charlatans intent on re-writing their transparently noble and nationalistic agenda. Meanwhile, the plight of NBC DG, IshaqModibboKawu is the blight of HURIWA.
HAMID HENDRIX is a communications writer in Abuja