Harsh reactions have trailed the indefinite suspension of the operating license of DAAR
Communications PLC, the parent company of two of the country's largest private broadcasters - AIT and Ray Power, by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Aynaijang.com reported Thursday evening how the broadcasting regulatory agency revoked DAAR's license for alleged inability to pay the license renewal fees, hate speeches, using and allowing the station to be used for selfish political ends, amongst other breach of professional codes.
AIT’s conduct had become “a bad example of how a professional broadcast outfit should not be run,” NBC's boss, Modibbo Kawu said, while announcing the suspension.
However, the AIT and Ray Power FM, both owned by Raymond Dokpesi’s Daar Communications denied all alleged wrongdoings, condemning the development and dismissing it as yet another insensitive action by the Buhari-led administration to crackdown on the media and more so, its critics.
Dokpesi is a long-standing member of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and once contested to be the party’s chairman.
Former president and PDP's presidential candicate in the last election, Alh. Atiku Abubakar Thursday joined droves of Nigerians to denounce the agency's action, warning that the fabrics of Nigeria’s democracy are being shredded by the Buhari government.
“The Legislature has been challenged. The Judiciary has been tackled,” Mr Abubakar said. “If, at this time, we stand by as the press loses its independence, there will be little to differentiate us from a dictatorship.”
Like Abubakar, many other Nigerians have condemned the action of the NBC.
“The suspension of @AIT_Online is an utterly condemnable act.The suspension is politically motivated.Its an act of ingratitude & treachery to strangulate the very media outlet that has played a pivotal role in the struggle for the restoration and defense of democracy,” a former Kaduna senator, Shehu Sani, wrote on Twitter, @ShehuSani.
“When the people in Government and not the constitution are at liberty to chose which of the views expressed is offensive to the law,they will pick the ones that question their authority to oppress,” he added.
The opposition PDP also joined in the condemnation.
The party through its national spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, maintained that it was evident that the attack on AIT is targeted at “intimidating and gagging 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.”
Furthermore, an aide to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, described the closure of the stations as a sign of dictatorship.
“The @MBuhari junta has shut down @AIT_Online. We are now officially a dictatorship. Opposition voices are stifled, and those who voted against Buhari are treated like enemies of the state and called ‘necessary evil’. Welcome to #NextLevel #FreeLeahSharibu,”