The Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, has asked the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to halt the transmission Big Brother Naija, a TV reality show.
The minister reportedly made the call to end the fifth season of the show which commenced on July 20 by citing fears of a possible spread of COVID-19 among housemates.
On Wednesday, Acting Director-General of the NBC, Armstrong Idachaba, told senior management members of the commission at a meeting that he had been directed by the minister to shut down the show, according to TheCable.
Mohammed reportedly wanted to cover-up his own personal decision by shutting down the show through a letter from NBC.
The minister is reportedly bent on sending MultiChoice Ltd, producers of the show, out of Nigeria in order to pave the way for his main consultant to make a return to Pay TV after previously failing.
A director had told the meeting that the NBC had on July 1 sought an explanation from Multichoice Ltd on a possible violation of COVID-19 protocol with the airing of the show.
However, MultiChoice Ltd had subsequently replied the NBC stating the measures taken to forestall any violation of the Covid-19 protocol advised by the Presidential Task Force on Covid-19, adding that the Lagos State Safety Commission gave approval for the show.
The organisers also said housemates went through mandatory two-week isolation before the commencement of the show and that the BBN House had been disinfected and rearranged to ensure physical distancing, in addition to the elimination of live audience.
Idachaba, was, however, yet to convey the minister’s directive to the organizers of the show.
However, Nigerians have taken to social media to warn the minister to desist from such move.
Below are some reactions on Twitter Friday night.
One Chioma wrote: “Big brother house was properly quarantined and all the contestants tested healthy.
Why is Lai Muhammad bent on cancelling a huge project like BBN?
“Please it should better be a joke o.”
Another Twitter user wrote: “don’t understand the beef The minister of information has with MultiChoice.
“Tell me Why this man is calling on NBC to shut down BB Naija when every single housemate was quarantined and several precautions were taken by the organizers & LASG.”
Another Twitter user added: “Lai Mohammed must hate to see Nigerians genuinely happy about anything.”