3rd August, 2022
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has slammed a fine of N5 million on Trust Television Network (Trust TV) over its documentary titled “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”.
It was aired by the station on 5 March, 2022.
Daily Trust reported Wednesday that the fine was conveyed in a letter by the NBC to the company.
The letter dated August 3, 2022, was signed by NBC Director General, Balarabe Shehu Illela.
Illela said the fine was imposed on Trust TV because its broadcast of the said documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.
The fine comes few days after the information minister, Lai Mohammed said the government would punish Trust TV and BBC for ‘glorifying banditry and terrorism’.
Mohammed accused the Trust TV and BBC’s Africa Eye for unprofessional airing of different documentaries capable of fuelling terrorism in Nigeria.
He said the Federal Government has taken note of ‘’the unprofessional documentary by the BBC, Africa Eye, where interviews were granted to bandit warlords and terror gangs, thereby promoting terror in the country’’.
Mohammed, however noted that the industry regulator, the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission had been notified about the two incidents for appropriate action to be taken.
Less than a week after, the NBC struck with a fine on Trust TV.
The management of Media Trust Group has reacted to the development.
“While we are currently studying the Commission’s action and weighing our options, we wish to state unequivocally that as a television station, we believe we were acting in the public interest by shedding light on the thorny issue of banditry and how it is affecting millions of citizens of our country.
“The documentary traces the root of the communal tensions and systemic inadequacies which led to the armed conflict that is setting the stage for another grand humanitarian crisis in Nigeria. It presents insights into the intersection of injustice, ethnicity and bad governance as drivers of the conflict.
“It also aggregates voices of experts and key actors towards finding solutions, including those of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, who hails from one the worst hit communities in Zamfara State.
The statement added that other experts who featured in the documentary include scholars like Professor Abubakar Saddique of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria and Dr. Murtala Ahmed Rufai of the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto, who have both studied the subject of banditry for a long period.
The documentary also brought to the fore the horrifying stories of victims of banditry.