Intersociety: 7th June 2019-Having carefully studied the reasons given by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, regarding its militarist and dictatorial shutdown of the African Independent Television (AIT) and its Ray Power Radio; and having also carried out quick background checks on the present composition and ethno-religious backgrounds of the Commission’s leadership and extent of the present Federal Govt’s control or interference in its affairs, it is no time wasting concluding that the action of the NBC is a pure political vendetta with no iota of exception, Int’l Society for Civil Liberties & Rule of Law said today in Onitsha in its reaction statement signed by Emeka Umeagbalasi (Board Chair) and Chidinma Udegbunam (Head of Publicity).
The abrupt shutdown is also a height of Nigerian Government’s political intolerance and dictatorial tendencies. The Government’s action further offends and impeaches the press freedom as enshrined in Section 39 of the 1999 Constitution as well as striping the AIT and its Ray Power Radio of its corporate social responsibilities as contained in Section 22 of the Constitution (duties of the mass media in holding Government and its agencies accountable in matters of Government policies, conducts and governance).
The reasons given by the NBC are nothing short of given dog a bad name in order to hang it. Using hate speech as an excuse is just an extension of the present Government’s policy of criminal labeling and stigmatization targeted at its political opponents, other dissenting voices and hated ethnic nationalities. It is also crude selective application of Government’s policies and conducts. For instance, the same Government that accuses of AIT and its Ray Power Radio of “spreading hate speech” is condoning and protecting with utter alacrity the Miyatti Allah Cattle Breeders Association of Nigeria (MACBAN), which goes about openly and in the private and public media with reckless abandon to admit killing citizens and issuance of more threats. The group also goes about addressing press conferences, threatening which part of the country to attack or not. Yet the same Federal Government keeps mute and refuses to proscribe or deregister it as a legal entity in Nigeria as well as arresting and prosecuting its leaders.
The grand answer to the present Government’s clear policy of hate, vendetta and vindictiveness is that what has a beginning surely has an end. Intersociety is therefore worried more on the many implications and consequences of the Federal Government’s latest dictatorial or anti democratic action, some of which are as follows:
That the action of the Government, if genuine and democratic, should have been to sanction the AIT and slam it with payment of fines, not dictatorial and vindictive shutdown. See the case of MTN and Federal Government of Nigeria. In Diaspora, see the case of Chelsea Football Club and its owner (Roman Abramovish) with the UK Government.
That the NBC goofed unpardonably by militarily shutting down AIT and its Ray Power Radio without considering the monumental negative social implications, consequences or effects such as: denial of millions of Nigerians and people of the Diaspora access to third party or independent information(leaving them to judge same rightly or wrongly) and their fundamental right to freedom of expression and thought; throwing of thousands of its workers and tens of thousands of their dependants into joblessness, hunger and depriving them access to other forms of human needs
That the Federal Government’s action has further portrayed it as “a Government only on a mission to borrow and squander” and not to create wealth, govern and develop the country
That with the central Government’s dictatorial action, it has sent a strong message to the international development partners and capitalists that “Nigeria is presently governed by an assemblage of goons only interested in power, might and criminal enrichment and not development of its people and the country.
That Nigeria, under the current political dispensation “is a dangerous place to invest and grow wealth” as it is ruled not by law and due process but by self help, personal opinions and biases as its grundnorm
That injection of fresh foreign capitals by international investors or capitalists stand the greatest risk of being ruined or liquidated by the country’s raging “failed state status”, founded on chronic squander-mania, rabid corruption, political vendetta, ethno-religious nepotism and offensive, vindictive and retroactive legal system.
That with these heightened retrogressive policies and conducts; Nigeria will not make any meaningful progress as one united country in the next 50yrs and may finally hit “the Somali goal post”.