Amidst Twitter ban controversy and strict social media control measures, Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari, has appointed a new Director-General For the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the country’s regulatory agency for broadcasting.
The President on Friday, June 11, 2021 sacked Armstrong Idachaba , the acting DG of the NBC and appointed Balarabe Shehu Ilelah as the new chief, a statement by Lai Mohammed, the Minister of Information and Culture, said.
Mohammed did not state the reason for the replacement but said Ilelah’s appointment would last for a tenure of five years.
The replacement comes amidst government moves to censor social media and broadcast media operations in Nigeria.
The NBC had in an advertorial, on Thursday June 10, 2021, called social media platforms and broadcasters (both online and offline) to obtain licenses from the Commission for them to operate in Nigeria, following Twitter ban.
Idachaba said the move to licence social media platforms and broadcast media was in line with the provision of the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11, Laws of the Federation 2004, section 2(1)(b).
“The Commission shall have responsibility of receiving, processing and considering applications for the establishment, ownership or operation of Radio & Television Stations including cable television services, Direct Satellite Broadcast (DSB), and ANY medium of Broadcasting,” he said.
The announcement was a follow-up to the government suspension of Twitter operations in the country for allowing “activities that threaten the country’s corporate existence” on the platform.
The Twitter suspension came just days after the platform deleted a divisive tweet in a thread by Buhari threatening violence on suspected Biafran separatists fomenting attacks in the country’s Southeast region.
The government further ordered the arrest and prosecution of Nigerians who use Twitter, a move activists and the international community called an attempt to stifle free expression.
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