NBC fines Channels TV N5 million over Datti’s “ending democracy” comment


The National Broadcasting Code (NBC) has fined Channels Television N5 million for allegedly violating the NBC code in a programme with the Labour Party vice-presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed.

The NBC communicated the fine to Channels in a letter signed by its Director General, Balarabe Ilelah, on 27 March.

NBC said Mr Datti’s comments on Seun Okinbaloye-anchored “Politics Today” on Wednesday, 22 March, was capable of inciting public disorder and therefore violated some sections of the broadcasting code.

Mr Ilelah said the commission had warned Channels several times to consider public interest before airing any of its programmes.

“Consequently, on the following infractions, Channels Television is hereby sanctioned and shall pay a penalty of N5,000,000 (five million naira) only in the first instance,” he said, adding, any further violations by the station would attract higher sanctions.

“You are advised to pay within two weeks from the day of receipt of this letter or the penalty will be graduated.”

Datti’s comments

Speaking on Wednesday’s edition of “Politics Today” on Channels Television, Mr Baba-Ahmed called on President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chief Justice of Nigeria not to swear in Bola Tinubu, whom INEC declared as the president-elect, insisting that declaring Mr Tinubu a winner and issuing him a certificate of return was against the constitution.

Whoever swears in Mr Tinubu, Mr Baba-Ahmed said, has “ended Democracy” in Nigeria.

He said: “Mr President, do not hold that inauguration. CJN your lordship, do not partake in unconstitutionality. I am taking this risks for the sake of my country.

“Yes, it is extreme and I am saying it. It was more extreme for Yakubu (INEC Chair) to issue that certificate (of return). It was reckless. He is putting all our lives in danger. All of us.

“I am telling you that on the 29th of May 2023, swear in Tinubu as this result is, you have ended democracy whoever you are.

“You cannot swear in people who have not met constitutional requirements. If you do that, you have done something unlawful, something unconstitutional. And I am repeating it, whoever does not meet the constitutional requirement must not, must never be sworn in. You said my name. If you like I can say it again. I am Datti Baba-Ahmed.”

Mr Ahmed said the APC candidate had not met the constitutional requirement to be declared president-elect, saying INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, had put the lives of Nigerians in danger by issuing Mr Tinubu a certificate of Return.

“Swearing in a ticket that has not met the constitutional requirements of the constitutions is ending Democracy. Quote me on it… and that is indeed a correct interpretation,” he said.

“However extreme it is I am saying it on national TV. I don’t like to take risks. I am not taking any risk.”

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The LP vice presidential candidate also stated that he does not have faith in the judicial system to serve him and his principal, Peter Obi, justice.

INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. Photo: Facebook/INECNigeria
INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu. Photo: Facebook/INECNigeria

“I do not,” he said when asked of his faith in the court. “There is a certain senate president who contested presidency and lost and today he is declared senator and the laws of Nigeria do not allow you to contest two offices. I was contesting governorship in Kaduna but I withdrew before the contest and that was why I was nominated as vice presidential candidate on this ticket. Electoral Act violated. Promises violated. Now they are inching to violate the constitution to the extent that they will even swear in a president who has not met constitutional requirements. And we should sit down and be afraid and not talk about it. No way.”

Mr Baba-Ahmed, however, said it was not a reason for them not to approach the court as there could be a first time when the system would work.

“History is full of first time,” he said. “There may be the first time that the court system will work. Remember, I have suffered from the legal system. My House of Reps, my Senate. I accepted. Nothing I can do. And that is to underscore the law in me. I am a law abiding citizen. I am a law promoting citizen.”

Despite coming third in the result announced by the electoral commission, INEC, Messrs Obi and Baba-Ahmed have insisted they won the election.

They have approached the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal to contest the process of the election and the declaration of APC’s Mr Tinubu as winner of the election.

The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Atiku Abubakar, who came second in the election has also rejected the outcome of the election and approached the election petition tribunal to seek redress.

Days ago, the State Security Services (SSS) raised the alarm that some politicians are working to scuttle the 29 May transition by plotting an interim government.

The Presidency has also dismissed claims that President Buhari was not willing to hand over to the president-elect.

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