An Islamic group, Muslim Media Watch Group of Nigeria, MMWG, has cautioned the Socio-Economic Rights & Accountability Project, SERAP and some other non-governmental organisations, NGOs to stop seeking cheap publicity by meddling wrongly in the affairs that do not concern them.
Specifically, the group was reacting to the ultimatum given by SERAP to the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC over the warning it gave to media organisations on the need for them to truly be professional in their media practice, especially in the coverage of the ongoing 2023 general elections.
MMWG, in a statement issued on Tuesday by its National Coordinator, Alhaji Ibrahim Abdullahi, condemned SERAP for its “attempt to intimidate the NBC for playing its statutory role as a regulatory body as contained in the Act that set it up.”
The group described SERAP as “a meddlesome interloper interfering in the affairs that does not concern it; warning that attempts of some ill-motivated NGOs to turn themselves to the opposition of Federal Government agencies and functionaries is highly irresponsible and condemnable.”
“Media organisations both public and private practising in Nigeria which participated in the meeting under reference with NBC Chief Executive, Malam Bala Ilela had pledged their loyalty to this nation and assured NBC that they would not breach the code of ethical broadcasting and publishing.
“What then is the business of SERAP that warrants issuing a 48-hour ultimatum to NBC to withdraw its warning?
“We in the Muslim Media Watch Group and all patriotic Nigerians irrespective of religious or ethnic background endorsed what NBC did.
“Instead of invoking the powers conferred on it by imposing fines on erring media organisations, NBC invited them to what could be termed a ‘family meeting’ where executives from various organisations were admonished on the need to promote peace, stability and unity of the country by refraining to air or publish volatile and reckless outbursts that might cause chaos shortly before, during and after elections,” it stressed.
MMWG, therefore, maintained: “It is unpatriotic and condemnable in this transitional period for SERAP to dabble irrationally in matters that does not concern it; for SERAP to have referred to that laudable meeting as NBC threat and calling on NBC to withdraw the threat, actually depict the calibre of people in that NGO called SERAP.”
It further described the SERAP outbursts on NBC as “highly baseless and nonsensical”, saying that “instead of toeing the line of other responsible CSOs and NGOs, SERAP has turned itself to nuisance as it found nothing good in whatever the federal government agencies and top functionaries are doing.”
The group said SERAP could as well tell the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, NDIC to stop dictating monetary policies and effecting regulatory roles to commercial banks in the country, maintaining that “this is Nigeria – the giant nation in Africa – not a jungle.”