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Ortom Interview: NBC Gives Channels TV 24 Hours To Answer Query

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At a time the Presidency is taking Governor Samuel Ortom to the cleaners over his outburst against the planned recovery of grazing routes for herdsmen, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has queried Channels Television where the Benue State Governor condemned the Buhari government’s review of 368 grazing routes across 25 states.

Naija News reports that Buhari had approved recommendations of a committee to review 368 grazing sites, across 25 states in the country, “to determine the levels of encroachment”.

The broadcaster was queried specifically in an NBC letter titled, ‘Notice of Infraction’, over the “inciting, divisive and unfair comments” made by Ortom, the Benue State Governor, on the TV’s ‘Sunrise Daily’ breakfast programme on Tuesday.

In the letter dated August 24, 2021 and signed by its Director-General, Balarabe Ilelah, NBC said, “The programme which had as guest the Executive Governor of Benue State, Governor Samuel Ortom, was observed to contain inciting, divisive and unfair comments which were not thoroughly interrogated by the anchors.”

The regulator pointed out that the actions negated Sections 1.10.4, 3.1.1, 3.3.1(b), 3.3.1(e), 3.11.1(a), and 3.12.2 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.

It said, “Consequently, Channels Television is required to explain why appropriate sanctions should not be applied for these infractions of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. Your response should reach the Commission within 24 hours of the receipt of this letter”.

Ortom, an outspoken fiery governor, had in a virtual appearance on the TV programme on Tuesday morning, flayed President Muhammadu Buhari’s stance on open grazing.

According to him, “If Mr President respects the law, the Land Use Act gives governors the power to preside over land administration on behalf of the people that they govern.

“So it is amazing and I am surprised to hear this coming from Mr President as if he doesn’t have an Attorney General, or Lawyers around him to advise him. I think Mr President was misquoted or he did it out of error. He should come out to apologise to Nigerians.”

The Presidency subsequently came hard on the governor on Wednesday and accused him of using sectarian language similar to that of the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, while reacting to the security challenges in his state.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement had said, “In an attempt to boost his sinking political fortunes, Ortom takes the cheapest and lowest route possible by playing on ethnic themes – and in doing so knowingly causes deaths of innocent Nigerians by inciting farmers against herders, and Christians against Muslims.”