Popular Nigerian journalist, Kadaria Ahmed has slammed the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over the documentary on terrorism and banditry in Nigeria.
Naija News recalls that the BBC on Monday published a 50-minute documentary titled ‘The Bandit Warlords of Zamfara’, which captures the booming kidnap-for-ransom industry and other terrorist activities.
In the documentary, the BBC interviewed a bandit leader who confessed that they bought more weapons with the N60 million ransom paid by the Federal Government for the release of schoolgirls abducted at the Government Girls Secondary School in Jangebe town in Zamfara State in February 2021.
Ado Aleru, a notorious Fulani gang leader who is wanted by the Katsina Police for leading a massacre in the village of Kadisau in June 2020 was also interviewed.
In an opinion article on Thursday, Ahmed accused the BBC of becoming a tool of propaganda for terrorists and providing a platform for them to express their extreme views.
The CEO of Radio Now 95.3FM Lagos asserted that the BBC documentary fell below journalism best practices and is against the public interest.
Ahmed said that the BBC Africa Eye may be charged with aiding terrorism because it “provided” a platform for terrorists to express their extreme views.
She wrote: “Journalists and now a global media organisation of repute, the BBC, which should know better, are becoming a tool for terrorists, even if unwittingly, by amplifying the faces, voices and stories of killers and marauders who are still operating with impunity across Nigeria.
“The public interest argument seems to have been misunderstood, some may even say misrepresented, to enable sensationalist reporting that is very unlikely to be allowed on screens in the United Kingdom. By not upholding the same standards as they would in the UK, in their work in Nigeria, the BBC Africa Eye producers in their latest documentary titled ‘The Bandits Warlords of Zamfara’ have provided a global platform to terrorists and can be accused of becoming an accomplice to terror in the name of reporting it.
“The arguments also include an assertion that hearing from terrorists helps us better understand the conflicts and therefore come up with solutions. Under the guise of public interest, this is the argument that BBC Africa Eye seems to be presenting, to justify its decision to actively give copious screen time to self-confessed murderers and kidnappers, who are still actively involved in attacking communities, killing, kidnapping, pillaging and generally making life brutish and a living hell for the people of Nigeria’s North-western State of Zamfara and beyond.
“The two promotional clips released for the documentary, The Bandits Warlords of Zamfara, feature a marauder who should remain nameless here, confirming that he was part of those who raided Jengebe Girls’ Secondary School in the state, abducting over 300 students with the attendant horror of these sorts of crimes normally entail, and releasing them, after the payment of ransom.
“Evidently, the BBC Africa Eye team also had no problem utilising footage that appears to have been shot by these self-confessed criminals because this makes it into the second trailer. No media of repute would take this decision because it is generally understood that these sorts of videos are recorded by terrorists for one thing only: propaganda.”
Ahmed said the BBC cannot use its airwaves to provide a voice to terrorists who are attacking UK residents because doing so will elicit public outrage with legal repercussions.
She wrote: “If terrorists were killing and kidnapping British citizens, especially young children, the BBC would not enable interviews by the perpetrators, particularly if they were still roaming footloose and fancy-free, without an iota of remorse for their crimes and also carrying out many more. The trauma to the psyche of the British public will be unbearable, and the BBC would not be willing to pay that price or risk the legal consequences sure to ensue.
“Here in Nigeria, concerns about the impact the amplification of terrorists’ voices will have on victims, their families and the public appear to be a secondary consideration to the BBC’s insistence on hearing from the bandits’ first-hand accounts and justification for their murderous activities.”