By John Nwokocha
The Protect Nigerian Group (PNG) has expressed dissatisfaction at the protest carried yesterday in Abuja, by the founder of DAAR Communications Plc, High Chief Raymond Dopkesi, over a warning by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), on ‘content’ broadcast by its stations.
General secretary of the group, Comrade Abdulwahaab Ekeinde, while condemning the protest which he described as action aimed at sabotaging the federal government, urged Nigerians to rally round President Muhammadu Buhari , work together in the interest of peace of the country. Speaking while briefing the media on Thursday in Abuja, the secretary general of PNG noted that the “demonstration was intended to cause disaffection among Nigerians and could affect the existing peace of the country”.
According to Comrade Ekeinde “Chief Raymond Dokpesi is a respected elder statesman but for him to organise a protest against an agency of the federal government is not only to incite the public but also to start a fight against this administration.” The group’s scribe said while Dopkesi has a constitutional right to protest “he should cautious of the effects on the right of others”, and called on Nigerians to disregard the protest.
The concerned group also alleged that Dopkesi had an unveiled motive of his demonstration it therefore urged the public not to be carried away by sentiments but should support the federal government for success of this administration.
The NBC last week, sent two separate letters to the Daar Communications Group, owner of African Independent Television and Raypower FM over it reportedly called “unprofessional report”.
The two letters, dated May 27, 2019, were signed by the commission’s Director of Broadcast Monitoring, Prof. Armstrong Idachaba.
The NBC accused the stations of airing “offensive, unfair and unprofessional” content in violation of rules.
NBC in the letter asked AIT and Raypower to state why they should not be sanctioned.
In one of the letters, NBC frowned on the station saying, “The continued use of your licence (given in trust to you on behalf of the entire Nigerian people), to embark on attacks and vilification of the regulator shall attract appropriate sanctions going forward.”
The regulatory body also said the stations had been allegedly inciting the public against the Independent National Electoral Commission, the All Progressives Congress and the government.
According to the letters, “Monitoring reports on AIT and Raypower FM indicate that a news commentary replete with unfair allegations against the judiciary was aired from Monday, 20th May, 2019.
“This commentary was aired on the two stations during the week. The broadcast is a contravention of the provisions of the code and extant laws regarding discussion of cases pending in the law courts which could be termed as contempt of court.
“Furthermore, the language used was offensive and unfair on the judiciary. The broadcast is viewed as offensive, unfair and unprofessional, as provisions of Section 1.15.1 of The Nigerian Broadcasting Code was violated.”
The NBC in another letter questioned the motive behind the documentary: ‘Nigeria Judiciary on Trial: Lessons from Kenya’.
Also, the station was said to have accused INEC of refusing to make its server public because it doctored the result of the elections.
NBC gave the stations until May 31 to respond to its queries or risk disciplinary actions.
In the May 27 letter, the NBC complained about the use of content generated on social media on Kakaaki programme on AIT.
It reads in part: “Your station is by this letter advised to be cautious when discussing issues relating to matters pending in the court of law and refrain from use of language inimical to the broadcast profession.
“You are by this letter requested to explain why the full weight of sanction should not be meted against you for this inflammatory broadcast and the fragrant disregard of your editorial responsibility”.
But reacting to the letters Chief Dokpesi, said he would protest against “plots by the All Progressives Congress- led Federal Government” to gag the media and suppress free speech.
Dopkesi in a statement on Tuesday, said he would be staging a “one-man demonstration” to the National Assembly on Thursday, June 6, 2019, after addressing a world press conference at the AIT Complex, Asokoro, Abuja.
“We invite all Nigerians and the international community to note this obvious act of brigandage against freedom of speech and association as clearly expressed in our Constitution”, the statement stressed.
It added: “AIT and Raypower have not violated any code of broadcasting as alleged by the NBC. The NBC and the government in power are not comfortable with the broadcast industry because of its courageous and dogged stance in informing Nigerians on happenings in the country.”
Meanwhile, the NBC yesterday suspended the licenses of AIT and Raypower stations