JUST IN: Buhari’s government slams N5m fine on Trust TV over terrorist documentary

Nigerian government under President Muhammadu Buhari has imposed a fine of N5 million on Trust Television Network (Trust TV) over the broadcast of the documentary titled “Nigeria’s Banditry: The Inside Story”, which was aired by the station on the 5th of March, 2022.

Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) Balarabe Shehu Illela, on Wednesday, August 3, 2022, said the fine was imposed on Trust TV because its broadcast of the documentary contravened sections of the National Broadcasting Code.

Nigeria’s information and culture minister Lai Mohammed last week said the government will sanction BBC, Africa Eye for ‘unprofessional documentary’ where it interviewed bandits.

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Mohammed accused Trust Tv of using its platform to ‘promote the activities of terrorists’ by interviewing a bandit kingpin, Shehu Rekeb.

Media Trust Group in a statement said the documentary was done in “public interest”.

The company in a statement said the documentary sheds “light on the thorny issue of banditry and how it is affecting millions of citizens of our country.

“The documentary also brought to the fore the horrifying stories of victims of banditry.

“The documentary traces the root of the communal tensions and systemic inadequacies which led to the armed conflict that is setting the stage for another grand humanitarian crisis in Nigeria.

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“It presents insights into the intersection of injustice, ethnicity and bad governance as drivers of the conflict.

“It also aggregates voices of experts and key actors towards finding solutions, including those of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Senator Saidu Mohammed Dansadau, who hails from one the worst hit communities in Zamfara State,” the statement said.

Media Trust said experts that featured in the documentary – Professor Abubakar Saddique of the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and Dr. Murtala Ahmed Rufai of the Usmanu Danfodio University, Sokoto – are scholars of the subject of banditry for a long period.

The company said it currently studying the sanction of the government agency and weighing its options.

Trust TV is a subsidiary of Media Trust Limited, publishers of the Daily Trust Newspapers. It was established in September 2019.

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