MRA condemns removal of NBC, government media chiefs

Director-General of NBC, Emeka Mba
Director-General of NBC, Emeka Mba

A media advocacy body, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) has described the removal of the Chief Executives of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and five Federal Government-owned media and advocacy institutions by the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as a blatant politicization of the offices and institutions.

In a statement yesterday, MRA’s Executive Director, Mr. Edetaen Ojo criticized the manner of their removal, arguing “although the laws establishing these institutions make provisions for their removal from office before the expiration of their tenures, such removal can only be effected upon the fulfillment of certain conditions and there is no indication at this time that those conditions were satisfied.”

However, it should be recalled that Mba replaced Yomi Bolarinwa, whose first tenure was truncated midway on May 8, 2013.

Those sacked were Mr. Emeka Mba, NBC’s Director General; Mr. Sola Omole, Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA); Mr. Ladan Salihu, Director-General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN); Mr. Sam Worlu, Director-General of the Voice of Nigeria (VON); Mr. Mike Omeri, Director-General of the National Orientation Agency (NOA); and Mr. Ima Niboro, Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN.

MRA noted that Mba, who was appointed on May 9, 2013 had served less than three years of the five-year tenure specified by law; Salihu, who was appointed on February 6, 2014, had served only two years out of his statutory three-year tenure; Omole, who was appointed the same day, February 6, 2014, had also served only two out of his three year tenure; Worlu, who was appointed on March 4 2015 had served less than one year out of his statutory five-year tenure; while Omeri, who was appointed on January 16, 2012, had only served four out of his five-year tenure.

Ojo added “In any event, the chief executive of a regulatory body of the stature of the NBC and those of national public service media institutions and agencies should never be dismissed from office in the manner in which this has been done,” the MRA chief said.

Saying that the institutions should be insulated from partisan political actions, he noted that “the laws establishing these institutions never intended that the fortunes of their principal officers should be tied to those of the political party in power. The credibility of these institutions is absolutely vital to their effectiveness in achieving the objectives for which they were established. Actions such as these, which include them in the spoils of office to be shared among the members of a victorious political party undermine their credibility, independence and integrity.”

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