The minister of information and culture, Lai Mohammed, has called on the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to end the TV reality show Big Brother Naija over fears that it might escalate cases of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The minister said the need to stop the reality show, which entered its fifth season on July 20, became imperative due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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.
Mohammed reportedly wanted the letter shutting down the show to come from the NBC because of the general opinion that he is bent on sending MultiChoice Ltd, producers of the show, out of Nigeria.
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.
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 organisers of the show.
Idachaba, in his response simply said BBN will not be taken off the air but did not provide any further information.