Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, has blasted the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) for its recent query and threats to close Channels Television over the latter’s interview with Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom.
Soyinka spoke in Lagos at the weekend during a media briefing with the theme, “Sanctions on the loose: Chasing the gnat with a sledge hammer’.
He submitted that the regulatory body went beyond its constitutional duties and did not have the power to decide what is “professional and sound judgement” in the Nigerian broadcasting space.
His words: “I think all of you have seen the letter sent by the National Broadcasting Corporation to Channels TV. It is the first time I have actually seen an example of the kind of query that the media is getting.
Reading the part of the NBC query to Channels TV, which says “the broadcaster shall ensure that its presenter shall handle with professionalism and sound judgement,” Soyinka queried:
“Professionalism and sound judgement? Who decides that? Is the National Broadcasting Commission the mass communication fora? Is it judging people’s papers? Is it setting examinations? Who is the impartial arbiter? Who is the expert who decides things like that? This is one of the most outstanding semi-literate kind of official query”
Soyinka also decried “the genocide that is currently taking place in some parts of the country, especially in Kaduna and Plateau, and the seeming ineptitude and helplessness of government over the enslavement of young boys and girls and trading them for money in the form of ransom, which constitute some of the parameters of a failed state.”
The Nobel Laureate added: “Among the actions that qualify as genocide are: One, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; two, deliberate inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part, and finally forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
“So where are the Chibok girls? Where are the pupils of the Ahmadiyya School? Where are the pupils of the Bethel Baptist School? So what is happening? How do we describe the targeting of children?”
Soyinka called on “the international community to intervene and stop the enslavement of children in form of kidnapping, abduction and trading of children to the highest bidder.”