Nobel laureate Prof. Wole Soyinka has expressed bewilderment over the query the National Broadcasting Commission issued to Channels Television following an interview where Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom criticised President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NBC had also questioned journalists on the broadcast station’s breakfast show Sunrise Daily over Mr Ortom’s comments on the show on Tuesday.
However, reacting on Friday during a media parley on the theme ‘Sanctions on the loose: Chasing the gnat with a sledge hammer’ in Lagos, Soyinka said the regulatory body went beyond its constitutional duties and did not have the power to decide what is “professional and sound judgement” as it relates to the media.
“I think all of you have seen the letter sent by the National Broadcasting Corporation to Channels TV. It is the first time I have actually seen an example of the kind of query that the media is getting,” he said.
Reading a part of the letter the NBC sent to Channels TV, which says “the broadcaster shall ensure that its presenter shall handle with professionalism and sound judgement,” Soyinka expressed dismay over the over-zealousness of officials of the NBC.
“Professionalism and sound judgement? Who decides that? Is the National Broadcasting Commission the mass communication fora? Is it judging people’s papers? Is it setting examinations? Who is the impartial arbiter? Who is the expert who decides things like that? This is one of the most outstanding semi-literate kind of official query,” he lamented.
The Nobel laureate also decried the genocide that is currently taking place in some parts of the country, especially in Kaduna and Plateau, and the seeming ineptitude and helplessness of government over what he called the enslavement of young boys and girls and trading them for money in form of ransom which, according to him, constitute some of the parameters of a failed state.
“Among the actions that qualify as genocide are: One, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; two, deliberate inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction in whole or in part, and finally forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.
“So where are the Chibok girls? Where are the pupils of the Ahmadiyya School? Where are the pupils of the Bethel Baptist School? So what is happening? How do we describe the targeting of children?” Soyinka asked.
He called on the international community to intervene and stop the enslavement of children in form of kidnapping, abduction and trading of children to the highest bidder.