Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture, has asked the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to take Big Brother Naija (BBN), a popular reality show currently on its fifth season off the air, citing fears of COVID-19 transmission as the reason.
On Wednesday, acting director-general of the NBC, Armstrong Idachaba told senior management members that he had been directed by the minister to shut down the show. The commission was to use fears of spread of COVID-19 as the reason, citing directives from the presidential task force (PTF).
Lai Mohammed is believed to have orchestrated political moves against MultiChoice in order to pave the way for his main consultant to make a return to Pay TV after previously failing. However, the management of NBC wasn’t well disposed to the move to shut down BBN, with some of them saying there was no basis for it.
A director is said to have reminded the meeting that NBC had already sought explanation from Multichoice on a possible violation of COVID-19 protocols with the airing of the show.
MultiChoice replied with detailed explanations on measures taken in collaboration with the Lagos state government, whose agency, Lagos State Safety Commission, gave the green light for the show.
Also, MultiChoice said in the letter that housemates had been screened prior to the show and that the BBN House had been decontaminated and adapted to ensure sufficient physical distancing, in addition to eliminating the use of live audience.
All housemates went through a mandatory two-week isolation during which COVID-19 symptoms would have manifested if they had the disease.
A second director is said to have told the meeting that participants of the show had maintained the safety protocols, notably generous use of hand sanitisers, since it started on Sunday.
Idachaba, who is reportedly fighting to be confirmed as the substantive DG, was asked to request the minister for a written directive.
With the political influence politicians tend to have over every other organization, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if Mr. Idachaba carries out the directive of the Minister.
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