The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has reacted to claims, especially on social media, that it was responsible for leaking the audio of a telephone conversation between the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, and the founder of the Living Faith Church Worldwide (Winners’ Chapel), Bishop David Oyedepo.
NCC’s Director of Public Affairs, Reuben Muoka, in a statement on Tuesday, distanced the commission from the leaked audio, saying it was bound by the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and therefore “cannot track nor leak telephone conversations to anyone”.
The NCC said it had been overwhelmed with enquiries by the media and was issuing the statement to set the record straight.
“The Nigerian Communications Commission has been inundated with enquiries by the media on allegations of telephone ‘tracking’ and ‘leakage’ made against the commission by some individuals and groups in the social and alternative media.
“The Commission wishes to make the following clarifications: The Commission denies the allegations in their entirety; By the provisions of the Nigerian Communications Act (NCA) 2003 and other extant Laws of the Federation, the Commission does not and cannot ‘track’ nor ‘leak’ telephone conversations of anyone”, the statement read.
The commission noted that it had reported the allegations to the relevant security agencies for proper investigation and necessary action.
It also restated its commitment to discharge its responsibilities to the “Nigerian people in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; the NCA 2003; other extant Laws of the Federation; and global best practices”.
In the audio clip which went viral on Saturday, Obi was heard asking Oyedepo to help spread his message to Christians in the South-West and parts of North-Central.
“Daddy, I need you to speak to your people in the South-West and Kwara, the Christians in the South-West and Kwara, this is a religious war. If this works, you people will never regret the support”, Obi assured the clergy.
“I believe that, I believe that, I believe that”, Oyedepo responded.
Reacting, Valentine Obienyem, a media aide to Obi, said the leaked audio of his principal’s conversation with Oyedepo was edited out of context.
Also, Oyedepo said on Sunday that he never campaigned for any politician or spoke on their behalf in the build-up to the general elections.
Oyedepo, while speaking to the congregation at the church’s headquarters, Faith Tabernacle, Ota, Ogun State, said, “I have never campaigned for anybody or spoken on anybody’s behalf and I will not do that till I go to heaven.
“There is no party in this country that didn’t come to me for prayers and advice”.