Ahmad Isah, a human rights campaigner known for helping ordinary people get justice via his radio and television shows, has come under scrutiny in a new BBC Africa Eye documentary.
Isah, popularly known as ordinary president, hosts a programme titled: “Berekete Family” which is aired on Human Rights Radio 101.1 in Abuja and streams online via social media platforms.
The programme offers ordinary citizens the opportunity to tell their stories bordering on injustice they have experienced.
The latest BBC documentary carried out by Peter Nkanga, a journalist, x-rays the programme and how Isah uses it to help ordinary citizens to get justice; he also helps solicit funds for victims when necessary.
In the 26-minute documentary, a crowd of people are seen waiting for the activist in the studio.
Stories from victims cut across injustice suffered in the hands of fellow citizens, including politicians and law enforcement agencies.
Although the impact of Isah’s ‘Berekete’ family programme is commendable as it helps many ordinary people, his methods appear controversial.
In the documentary, the activist is seen slapping a lady, who was accused of setting her brother’s daughter on fire over an allegation that the girl is a witch.
Prior to the scene when the suspect appears on the programme, the activist is seen listening to the story from the girl’s mother and another third party.
Thereafter, Isah places a telephone call to a top police officer in Abuja and asks that security agents be directed to arrest the suspect.
When the lady is arrested, she is brought to the programme for questioning.
However, while the human rights campaigner is questioning the lady who allegedly committed the crime, Isah slaps her more than three times as seen in the documentary.
The series of slaps come when the lady is reluctant to answer the question about where she got the information that the girl is a witch.
Meanwhile, he had earlier crowdsourced the sum of N2 million for the treatment of the girl in the hospital.
In his remarks, Anthony Ojukwu, executive secretary of National Human Rights Commission, says the programme does not “follow international standards for handling complaints of human rights violations”.
Ojukwu notes that those accused during the programme for human rights violations are not given the right of fair hearing and that the rules of confidentiality are breached.
When the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) was presented with the findings of the documentary, it said that it had received “high number of complaints” about the conduct of the station and that it frequently violates ethical standards.
The journalist who carried out the documentary said Isah did not respond to his findings.