…PDP, Ohanaeze condemn ban as NUJ vows to resist shutdown
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended the licence of Daar Communications for failure to abide by Nigerian Broadcasting Code.
The Director-General of NBC, Malam Is’haq Modibbo-Kawu made this known on Thursday in Abuja.
Kawu said over the last two years, NBC summoned the management of the company to address issues regarding the operations of AIT and Raypower; particularly Political Platform and Kakaaki.
He explained that in one of its meetings with the company held on June 2, 2017 the commission expressed its disappointment with the way and manner hate speech, divisive and inciting comments are applied in discussion of national issues in breach of the provisions of the NBC Act and Broadcast Code.
According to Kawu, Daar Communications has over the years turned itself into a bad example of how a professional broadcast outfit should not be run.
“In their relationship with the NBC, Daar communications carry on as if it is beyond the regulatory direction of the commission.
“They don’t pay their licence fees as and when due and its broadcast is patently partisan and one sided and deliberately inciting and heating up the polity.
“The management of the Company has created the habit of using the channel to fight its personal battles contrary to the statutory requirements of the law.”
The D-G said on June 6 AIT and 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.
“Recently, NBC monitoring reports on AIT and Raypower indicate the use of divisive comments accredited to the segment of “Kakaaki”, tagged, “Kakaaki Social”.
“Where inciting comments like, “Nigeria is cursed, “we declare independent state of Niger Delta”, “Nigeria irritates me”, “this country is gradually Islamising” and other similar slogans are used without editorial control in breach of the broadcast Code.
“Consequently, after several meetings with management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning.
“The NBC, today June 6, 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 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“This decision is based on the provisions of Section 10 of the Third Schedule of the NBC Act Cap N11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004, which states that where in the opinion of the commission the station has been used in a manner detrimental to national interest.
“NBC Act also states that where there is wilful or repeated failure to operate
substantially as set forth in the licence.
“Where there is wilful or repeated violation or wilful or repeated failure to observe any provision of this Act or any rule or regulation of the Commission authorised by this Act or by a treaty ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Where there is violation of or failure to observe any cease and desist order issued by the Commission and where a provision of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code has been seriously breached. And the shut down order is until further notice.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE) described the closure as shocking and unbelievable.
President of the guild, Funke Egbemode, told one of our correspondents that the action of the NBC and the Federal Government was unbelievable.
“This action is unbelievable. Why would government do this in a democracy? This action is unacceptable and will not stand,” she said.
In its reaction, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo said the action portended danger for the survival of democracy in the country.
Its President, Chief John Nwodo, said, “This portends danger for the survival of democratic rule in Nigeria. I’m sure that the courts will be alive to defend democracy. This action portends danger for freedom of speech in Nigeria.”
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said the action was an indication that dictatorship had returned to the country.
It said that President Muhammadu Buhari was behaving like a king, adding that he had forgotten that he was no longer a military ruler.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, said Nigerians must rise up and defend democratic rule.
He said, “This action of the government is most undesirable and unfortunate. It is an indication of what to come as the government must be planning to arrest Nigerians indiscriminately.
“It is also an indication that the government has returned the country to military rule. President Buhari must know that he is not the king of the country. Rather, he should know that we are in a democracy.
“We are not in a jungle. He should know that there was a country before he assumed office and there will still be a country after he must have left. He should build, instead of destroying.”
The President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Christopher Isiguzo, said the shutdown would be resisted by journalists in the country.
He said, “This simply signposts the return to the dark days. The NUJ will not accept any attempt by anybody, no matter how highly or lowly placed, to arm-twist or gag the media from freely expressing itself.”
Iziguso said, “If within 24 hours the decision is not rescinded, the NUJ might be forced to act.”
Also, the presidential candidate of the PDP, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; a chieftain of the party, Femi Fani-Kayode; and Senator Shehu Sani faulted the suspension.
Atiku said, “The legislature has been challenged. The judiciary has been tackled. If we stand by as the press loses its independence, there will be little to differentiate us from a dictatorship. This should not happen.”
Fani-Kayode, on his part, warned that the worst had yet to come under the present administration.
Sani said, “The suspension of @AIT_Online is an utterly condemnable act.”