Be prepared for litigations over Fulani Radio, HURIWA warns FG

A civil rights advocacy group, the Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Nigerian government to perish the idea of setting up a Fulani radio station with public fund for herdsmen because it breaches several sections of the Nigerian Broadcasting Code and section 42 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

HURIWA  said if the central government in clear breach of all extant laws goes ahead with the Fulani Radio as a public broadcaster then it should be ready to face an avalanche of litigations from Nigerians of diverse ethno-religious configurations who would be shortchanged should the commonwealth of Nigerians be deployed the exclusive interest of a section of Nigeria.

The rights group, through a media statement by its National Coordinator, Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko, and National Media Affairs Director, Miss Zainab Yusuf, said the idea of setting up an exclusive publicly funded radio station to be broadcasted in one language is both divisive and criminal just as it may be misconstrued as a weapon to mobilise armed Fulani herdsmen to intensify their murderous and blood Cuddling rampage all across Nigeria.

The group reminds the Nigerian government that the genocides that tore apart Rwanda prior to the coming of President Paul Kegame were aggravated by Ethnic oriented broadcasting institutions similar to what the minister of Education Adamu Adamu categorically announced.

HURIWA also dismissed as double speak the belated explanation by the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Alhaji Modibbo Kawu, who sought to tie a wool of confusion on Nigerians by denying that the Radio licence issued which the Minister of Education – the Fulani-born Alhaji Adamu Adamu confirmed to be a Fulani Radio for herdsmen is not exclusively for herdsmen but for farmers and hunters.

HURIWA wondered why the NBC official clearly spoke from both sides of his mouth when the Minister of Education Adamu Adamu categorically confirmed to Nigerians that the Radio Licence was obtained for the purposes of broadcasting in Fulani and for the herdsmen to stop the attacks targeting farming communities. HURIWA stated emphatically that the idea of a Fulani radio station with public fund will never be accepted by Nigerians going by the obvious constitutional crime that such an action has engendered which offends section 42 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

HURIWA said the decision of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration to obtain a licence and plan to deploy public fund to commence the operations of the radio for the purposes of mobilising Fulani herdsmen violates several sections of the National Broadcasting code which are derived from the extant National Broadcasting Commission’s Act including the sections that prohibits the deployment of public fund to service the interests of only a few sections of Nigeria.

HURIWA, which quoted copiously from the code of public and private broadcasting in Nigeria stated as follows: “The broadcasting code represents the minimum standard for broadcasting in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The code shall be applied in the spirit as well as in the letter in accordance with the professional ideals of broadcasting.”

HURIWA affirmed that “the Broadcasting Code in its general principles defines the character of broadcasting and emphatically stated that the general interest of Nigerian nation and not of one ethnic group must be conveyed by the activities of the publicly funded broadcasting just as the code stated that broadcasting shall influence society positively, setting the agenda for the social, cultural, economic, political and technological development of a nation, for the public good.”

HURIWA reminded the Federal Government that “the National Broadcasting Code rules out such discriminatory funding of a radio outfit to serve sectional interest because by means of broadcasting, every Nigerian is expected to partake in the sharing of ideas and experiences that will enrich the life of the citizenry and help them live in a complex, dynamic and humane society, as stated in the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy set out in Chapter two of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as amended).”
“May we inform President Buhari that the cardinal responsibility of broadcasting is to inform, educate and entertain and shall not be at the expense of national interest, unity and cohesion of Nigeria’s diverse social, cultural, economic, political and religious configurations which this his Fulani radio station cannot meet the thresholds and global best practices,” the group said.

HURIWA noted that the Broadcasting Code has obliged radio stations “to ensure that activities of the station shall provide an efficient, professional and comprehensive service to the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and not meant to service sectional interests even as the code states that broadcasting shall promote values and norms, which foster the well-being and co-operation of the various segments of the Nigerian society.”
It said by law the public service broadcasting is to promote national unity amongst diverse groups and rural communities in Nigeria as well as give opportunities to the different views and opinions in the society.

The group therefore asked the President Buhari administration “to jettison the highly divisive idea of deploying public resources to set up a radio station for the purposes of broadcasting to Fulani herdsmen just as the rights group wondered why President Buhari’s administration does not trust either the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria or Voice of Nigeria to deliver a programme that would competently educate Nigerians of Fulani extractions and their neighbours on the virtues of good neighbourliness instead of duplicating the institution of public broadcasting which in this specific case is not only controversial but absolutely illegal and unconstitutional.”

HURIWA stated that the only reason for side stepping the established public broadcasting institutions such as Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, Voice of Nigeria or the Nigerian Television may not be far from the allegation that the current administration supports the Fulanization and Islamisation agenda of the marauding armed Fulani herdsmen.

The rights group said it is an obligation for other ethno religious groups to file a case in court to challenge this absolute illegality of a publicly funded Fulani radio station. News Express

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