The Nigerian government has suspended the license of Human Rights Radio, a. k. a. Brekete Family, over “recurring unprofessional conduct”.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) announced this in a statement issued on Thursday.
Ahmed Isah, owner of the station was in a video published by BBC Africa Eye documentary seen slapping a lady who was accused of setting her brother’s daughter on fire over an allegation that she was a witch.
Following the criticism that trailed the video, Isah subsequently apologised, saying his action was triggered by zeal and passion.
Another video dated back to October 19, 2020, obtained by also showed Isah assaulting a young man whom he accused of writing down some names without his permission.
The Ordinary President, as Isah is popularly called, was visibly angry. He was seen interrogating the man who claimed he was collating the names of people for the Corporate Affairs Commission’s (CAC) registration.
Isah, in the midst of the interrogation, paused and hit the young man in the face with his right palm.
The assaulted young man was the one who apologised, saying he was sorry for what he had done.
Isah asked the young man, “You gather people and write their names?”
The young man replied, “I do not gather people, I came for CAC registration. You made an announcement this morning that there are people who dupe others based on the registration.
“As I came and saw that people were complaining about the cancellation of the registration, so we suggested that this Gwarimpa ward will go by people that are present here so we put their names here.
“I came here for the CAC, I am not the only one writing names there. I am the only here for the CAC registration, not Survival fund.”
Isah, who had by now, slapped the young man asked in anger, “Who commissioned you to write their names? Do you work for the CAC, or presidency or Chairman of the local government, who sent you?”
The NBC said it reviewed the events and noted the unreserved apologies and regrets expressed by the broadcaster.
The statement read, “The National Broadcasting Commission met with Mr. Ahmed Isah, owner and popular host of Brekete family programmme on the Human Rights Radio on Tuesday 26th of May, 2021.
“The meeting afforded Mr. Isah opportunity to explain the circumstances that led to the unfortunate incident at his radio station where rather than promote human rights and human dignity a citizen who was invited to the programmme was physically assaulted by the broadcaster.
“The National Broadcasting Commission has reviewed the events and notes the unreserved apologies and regrets expressed by the broadcaster. The Commission however states that the action of the Broadcaster is in clear violations of the Broadcasting Code and a betrayal of the confidence reposed on him by the people and Government of Nigeria on whose behalf he holds the radio license in trust.
“Section 0.1.1.2.1 of the Broadcasting Code provides in the Social Objectives of Broadcasting that Broadcasting shall – promote generally accepted social values and norms, especially civic and social responsibilities; and encourage respect for the dignity of man”.
“It also provides that broadcasting organisations shall recognise that they exercise freedom of expression as agents of society, not for any personal or sectional rights, privileges and needs of their own or of their proprietors, relatives, friends or supporters.
“It is important to state that the Commission has over the years, advised, cautioned, warned and fined the station over repeated cases of outright abuse, denigrating remarks, intimidation and flagrant abuse of ethics of fairness, balance and fair hearing on the station.
“It is also on record that the Commission had conducted several training and retraining programmes for the station and the host of the Brekete family programme especially.
“The Commission has therefore in line with the sanction provisions in 15.5.2 of the Broadcasting Code, Ordered the Suspension of license of the Broadcaster, until the Broadcaster commits to ethical and professional broadcasting.
“The Suspension Order is effective Monday the 31st of May 2021, at 12.00am. The Order shall last 30 days during which it is expected that the broadcaster will put its house in order and attune itself to responsive, professional and responsible broadcasting.
“It shall also pay a recommencement fee of as provided for in section 15.5.1 of the Broadcasting Code at the end of the suspension period. The NBC appreciates the popularity of the station and the fact that it has in many cases tuned its programming to the yearnings of the people.”