The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has berated the Federal Government of Nigeria led by President Muhammadu Buhari over the indefinite suspension of the license of the African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power both belonging to Raymond Dokpesi.
Africa News24 (AN24) had reported earlier that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) suspended the licence of Dokpesi’s DAAR Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower “until further notice”.
NBC Director-General, Modibbo Kawu, announced the shut down at a press briefing in Abuja on Thursday evening.
Kawu said the action was taken for failure of the stations to abide by the broadcasting code.
“Today the 6th of June, 2019, AIT/Raypower embarked on use of inflammatory, divisive, inciting broadcasts, and media propaganda against the government and, the NBC for performing its statutory functions of regulating the broadcast industry in Nigeria,” he said.
“Consequently, after several meetings with management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning. The NBC, today 6th June 2019 took a decision to suspend the licence of Daar Communications Plc for failure to abide by the Commission’s directives, the provisions of the NBC Act Cap N11. The SHUTDOWN order is until further notice.”
The NBC boss said the regulatory agency had been monitoring the stations for a long time and had issued warnings that were defied.
Reacting, the PDP in a statement, accused the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) of trying to cage the media, noting that NBC DG is a card-carrying member of the ruling APC.
The statement reads: “The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) condemns, in its totality, the unrelenting attempt by the All Progressives Congress (APC)-controlled federal government to cage the media as being witnessed in the ferocious attacks on Africa Independent Television (AIT) by government agencies, particularly the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
“The party says it is evident that the attack on AIT is targeted at intimidating and gaging the media, repress constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech and stifle public opinion, particularly as related to the determination by Nigerians to retrieve the stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal.
“This clampdown on AIT as well as earlier siege on other media houses and journalists under the APC administration, ostensibly point to a plot to frighten and asphyxiate the media, shut down outlets perceived to hold dissenting views and ultimately foist a siege mentality on our citizenry to restrain their demand for fairness and justice in the polity.
“The APC is mortally afraid that a free press will raise the red flag and expose its manipulations and any attempt to subvert the course of justice, especially in the Presidential petition, hence this desperation to strangulate the media and cow Nigerians from freely expressing themselves.
“Moreover, the PDP invites Nigerians to note that the Director-General of the NBC, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, is a card-carrying member and frontline leader in the APC who was also an aspirant on the platform of the party for the governorship of Kwara state.
The PDP notes that there can be no democracy without a free press. To stifle the media is an invitation to fascism and a return to the era of obnoxious military Decrees 2 and 4, which must be resisted by all.
“Our party, therefore, calls on Nigerians and the International community to unite in condemning this desperation to gag the media and repress free speech in Nigeria.
“The PDP also charges the media to remain professional and steadfast in their constitutional role of holding government and its institutions accountable and not be intimidated by oppressive forces that seek to subjugate Nigerians.”