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NBC Warns TV, Radio Stations On Reporting Herdsmen Quit Notice

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National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has warned television and radio stations against broadcasting divisive content amid the quit notices issued to Fulani herdsmen to vacate certain areas in the South-West.

The warning is stated in a letter titled: ‘Broadcast of a crisis involving herdsmen, caution’, dated January 26, 2021 and sent to broadcasters nationwide.

It would be recalled that a quit notice issued to Fulani herdsmen by Yoruba rights activist, Sunday Adeyemo better known as Sunday Igboho, in Oyo State over increasing cases of banditry and kidnapping.

Also, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State asked herdsmen in the state to vacate all forest reserves within a week.

Both notices sparked controversy in the country, which led to a ban on open grazing, underage and night grazing following an emergency meeting between Southwest governors, leadership of Miyetti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN) as well as security chiefs.

The NBC, which is the regulator of the broadcast media, has now said there was a need for stations to maintain professionalism.

The letter read in parts;

The National Broadcasting Commission wishes to bring to your attention emerging trends of national concern like the herdsmen crisis in Ondo and Oyo states and related issues which could spiral out of proportion if not properly handled.

The commission therefore seizes this opportunity to admonish broadcasters on the need to exhibit professionalism and observe required caution in the coverage and presentation of the quit notice to herdsmen and related issues.

NBC reminded broadcasters of the rules governing coverage of crisis as well as the constitutional need to not only promote and protect the corporate existence of the country but the economic well-being of the Nigerian state.

It quoted Sections 5.4.1 (a, b&f) and 5.4.3 of the broadcast code.

Part of the section reads;

(Broadcasters) shall not transmit divisive materials that may threaten or compromise the divisibility and indissolubility of Nigeria as a sovereign state.

In reporting conflict situations, the broadcaster shall perform the role of a peace agent by adhering to the principle of responsibility, accuracy and neutrality.

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