The Director-General of NBC, Ishaq Midibbo-Kawu clarified recent media reports that his commission banned some songs, stating that Nigerians must understand the statutory mandate of the NBC.
“It is important to let Nigerians understand that NBC does not ban any song. I read on social media platforms all the time that NBC banned a song; the commission never bans any song. What NBC does all the time is to remind our licensees that there are certain CATEGORIZATION of music that are important in broadcasting. If a song is CATEGORIZED, “Not To Be Broadcast” (NTBB) because of the lyrics of the song, then, we will remind the broadcasters that they cannot be broadcast” he said.
He went on to say
“this is what it is misinterpreted in the social media that we banned the song”. The director general also refuted the allegation that NBC was “carrying out a Jihad on Nigerian songs” based on a petition by a faith-based human rights organisation, Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC).
He stressed that the NBC did not carry out any Jihad, but only responded to a song on a radio station because it had lyrics that were NTBB. He gave an assurance that the Federal Government, through the NBC, would not infringe on artistic liberty or licence.
He, however, reminded artists and broadcast organisations of their responsibilities to Nigerians and the youths, in particular.
“Last week, I issued a press release to urge Nigerian artists to have different versions of their songs. They should do a version that can be used for public broadcast space and another version for club usage which can carry all kinds of lyrics that they want. If they want their songs to be broadcast on radio and television in Nigeria, these songs must conform to rules and must be songs that young people can listen to,” he said.
He disclosed that the commission was planning a national dialogue with Nigeria leading artistes on the need to avoid vulgar lyrics and hate speeches in their songs.
“The truth of the matter is that 75 per cent of our population is under the age of 35 while 63 per cent is under the age of 25, so we have a younger population. If you go on Youtube, Olamide song, “Wo” has over 10 million hits. That tells you the kind of influence these young artistes have on all our children in the country. They should help to orientate the young people on the right values. If their songs celebrate sex, violence, the use of drugs, alcohol and fraud, then they are not helping in the MOLDING of young people We believe that the young generation who listen to them can be guided through the use of their artistic works to play functional social purposes in the society,” he said.
He said the dialogue would focus on the need for the artists to use their music to propagate positive messages about development.