FG directs NBC to sanction erring stations over hate speeches

• It will destroy the country, says Finnih
• Sultan seeks prosecution of offenders

The Federal Government has directed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to sanction any radio or television station that broadcasts hate speeches.

This, it said, would curtail the trend and its devastating effects on the country.

Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, gave the directive yesterday in Abuja at the 3rd Annual Lecture Series of the NBC, which coincided with its 25th anniversary.

“As the NBC celebrates this milestone, the NBC must ensure a strict adherence to the Broadcasting Code and sanction erring stations accordingly to serve as a deterrent to others.

“The country looks up to the NBC to restore sanity to the broadcast industry. It cannot afford to do any less at this critical time. It cannot afford to fail the nation,” he said.

“It is the responsibility of the NBC to check these broadcast stations before they set the country on fire.

He lamented the inciting comments being broadcast in some radio stations and the level of insensitivity to a multi-religious, multi-ethnic country like Nigeria.

“Unfortunately, even some of the hosts of such radio programmes do little or nothing to stop such inciting statements. Oftentimes, they are willing collaborators of hate speech campaigners. This must not be allowed to continue because it is detrimental to the unity and well-being of our country,” he cautioned.

Mohammed re-echoed Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo’s position that government would not allow hate speech makers to get away with them, especially when they could cause violence.

Meanwhile, Chairman of Finnih Medical Centre, Oluyomi Finnih and other eminent Nigerians have called on the people to be more united in spite of the many challenges facing the country.

They made the call at a ceremony organised by Lagos Country Club to commemorate Lagos at 50.

Finnih, who spoke on Eko In My Eyes said, “For Nigeria to move forward, hate speeches should be laid to rest and people should start loving each other again the way it used to be.

“But if we continue with this ‘I hate you, you hate me trend, we are going to destroy ourselves and nobody will be a winner at the end.”

Also speaking at the NBC Conference, Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, cautioned politicians, religious leaders and the media against hate speeches and appealed to the Federal Government to prosecute offenders.

He stressed that religious leaders must not use their platforms to make hate speeches, adding that if that happens, the government has the responsibility to bring such religious leaders to book.

“I fully support the Federal Government’s decision to punish hate speeches. There are laws in this country. We support the move. This is very apt. The broadcast of the President on Monday that he will visit the full wrath of the law on hate speeches is good,” he added.

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Lai Mohammed
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