Abuja — Former Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, yesterday condemned suspension of Daar Communications' broadcast licence.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had suspended the licence of Daar Communications, owners and managers of the African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM over alleged infractions on NBC's code.
In a statement in Abuja yesterday, Frank described the use of armed soldiers to seal the offices of the organisation at Pasuma Hills, Asokoro, Abuja as the height of impunity, tyranny and molestation of the media, which was the pastime of military juntas in the country.
"This is an unfortunate and lamentable oppression of the media and direct suppression of Press Freedom in the country by the General Muhammadu Buhari administration, which must not be allowed to stand," he said.He stated that having performed woefully in office in the last four years, the Buhari government has increasingly turned predatory, exploitative, vindictive and rapacious against Nigerians out of frustration.
"The ongoing pacification, intimidation and emasculation of the Nigerian media is to confer totalitarian powers on the Buhari regime and enable it to ride roughshod over Nigerians without censure or criticism," he added. Frank wondered why a government that has not been able to resolve unemployment would embark on actions that could kill a business concern and render its employees jobless.
"This unfortunate action marks the beginning of the Next Level policy of intimidation and persecution of the Nigerian media by the Buhari administration.
"We must not also forget the illegal detention of a Premium Times journalist, Samuel Ogundipe for publishing a story from a report on the invasion of the Senate authored by former Inspector General of Police (IGP), Ibrahim Idris to the President," he said.
He also recalled how the Department of State Services (DSS) arrested and illegally detained Jones Abiri - publisher of Weekly Source newspaper, based in Bayelsa State for over two years without trial, among others.He urged Nigerians to resist what he described as Buhari's deliberate ploy to gag the Nigerian Press and urged Director General of NBC, Is'haq Modibbo Kawu, to immediately reverse his directives on AIT and Raypower.