A civic group, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, has condemned the clampdown by the Federal Government on ‘Idon Mikiya’, a Hausa programme on an Abuja-based radio station, Vision FM.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Musa Rafsanjani, and obtained by SaharaReporters on Thursday.
The development trails actions taken by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to impose fines on the station and subsequent suspension of the programme.
The station discussed, in one of its programmes, ‘Idon Mikiya’ on January 5, 2022, the extension of the tenure of Director General, NIA, Rufai Abubakar, and his alleged incompetence.
However, NBC in a letter on Wednesday, stated that it was unconstitutional as the discussion breached section 39 (3) (b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Reacting in a statement, Rafsanjani urged President Muhammadu Buhari to call the NBC to order, saying that level of intolerance and impunity is getting out of hand and it has no place in a democracy.
He stated, “We call on the administration to urgently lift the suspension and uphold the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 (as amended) and relevant international obligations which talk about freedom of the press and the right of the media to hold the government accountable to the people.”
Rafsanjani, who doubles as Head of Transparency International, Nigeria and Chairman Board of Amnesty International, Nigeria, asserted that the rush to impose monetary fines and suspension of broadcast stations by the NBC exposes the government’s illicit desire to gag the press, block free speech and turn Nigeria into a Police State.
He advised the government to rescind the needless clampdown on perceived critics and handle its regulatory role more professionally and with a lot of restraint.