Last week the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) abruptly shut down the African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power F M radio over what the NBC construes as the airing of “hate speech” and “divisive and inciting comments” such as, “Nigeria is cursed, “we declare independent state of Niger Delta”, “Nigeria irritates me”, “this country is gradually Islamizing” on AIT segment tagged “Kakaaki Social”. It is public knowledge that there is no love lost between the Buhari government and Dr. Ray Dokpesi, the boss of Daar Communications Limited which owns AIT.
The former has been accusing the latter of committing many sins including supporting the opposition, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). On its part, the NBC perceives AIT as the mouthpiece of the PDP. In the words of the NBC: “Its broadcast is patently partisan and one sided and deliberately inciting and heating 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 government is particularly angry with AIT for airing the documentary on the Presidential election documentary, a matter that is still sub-judice on AIT on Wednesday and Thursday, 22nd and 23rd May, 2019 respectively.In simple language, the government wants AIT’s licence revoked for the station’s biased in favour of PDP and the opposition. Consequently the AIT was shut down last week. However, last Friday, June 7, 2019, Justice Inyang Ekwo of the Federal High court, Abuja had ordered for the immediate re-opening of AIT and that parties should maintain the status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the substantive suit between the parties.