By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The National Broadcasting Commission,NBC, has suspended the broadcast licences of the African Independent Television, AIT and Ray Power FM owned by DAAR Communications Limited.
The suspension came barely few hours after founder and Chairman of DAAR Communications, PLC, High Chief Raymond Dokpesi addressed a press conference where he called on the federal government to immediately relieve the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Mr. Ishaq Kawu Moddibo of his duty at the NBC to allow the industry to breathe fresh air.
The NBC Director-General, Dr Modibbo announced the suspension at a press conference in Abuja, pointing out that DAAR Communication Limited’s media houses’ shutdown was until further notice.
Dr Modibbo listed the infractions committed by AIT and Ray Power radio to include; inability of the stations to pay their Licence Renewal fees and the airing of a Presidential Election documentary while the matter was still before a tribunal, and the In the words of the DG of the NBC, “Following monitoring reports and complaints from concerned Nigerians about the broadcast contents of DAAR Communications Plc’s AIT/Raypower broadcast stations, the NBC have over the last two years summoned, on several occasions, management of the company to address issues regarding the operations of AIT/Raypower with the company, particularly, Political Platform and Kakaaki aired on AIT.
“The Commission’s monitoring reports on AIT/Raypower indicate the use of divisive comments accredited to the segment of Kakaaki, tagged, Kakaaki Social, where inciting comments like, “Nigeria is cursed, we declare independent state of Niger Delta”, “Nigeria irritates me”, “this country is gradually Islamising” and other similar slogans are used without editorial control in breach of the broadcast Code. “We were therefore constrained to issue Daar Communication letters of warning dated May 27, 2019.
“We also observed from monitoring reports that a documentary on the Presidential Election Tribunal, a pending election petition matter aired on AIT on Wednesday and Thursday, May 22 and 23 May, 2019 without regard to the provisions of the Broadcast Code”, he said.
The NBC, Modibbo stressed, again cautioned the AIT in another letter on May 29, 2019.
He said, “In their relationship with the NBC, DAAR Communications carry on as if it is beyond the regulatory direction of the commission. They don’t pay their licence fees as and when due.
“Consequently, after several meetings with management of DAAR Communications Plc and many letters of warning, the NBC today took a decision to suspend the licence of DAAR Communications Plc for failure to abide by the commission’s directives, the provisions of the NBC Act Cap N11
Laws of the Federation of Nigeria and the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
“This decision is based on the provisions of Section 10 of the Third Schedule of the NBC Act Cap N11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. The shut down order is until further notice” , the DG said.