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AIT Saga: Despite Court Ruling, Police, DSS Surround Premises, Intend To Shut It Down |RN

Heavily fortified security operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service have surrounded the premises of African Independent Television (AIT) after the station came back on air late Friday.

Group Managing Director of DAAR Communication Mr. Tony Akiotu speaking to newsmen said shortly after AIT commenced operation, security forces gathered around the station’s premises

He decried the action saying the action of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service was an ‘unwarranted threat’ on AIT.

He explained that by 12.30 a.m. Saturday morning, the premises of DAAR Communications Plc was surrounded by security operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service.

He went further to say the “heavily fortified security operatives were carrying out surveillance on the premises,”

Mr Akiotu said this is “unusual” and the motive “unclear” but the sation will not be deterrd as “the station is still transmitting signals on its national and global beam,” adding that the action of the security operatives was “unwarranted threat” .

The Federal High Court in Abuja, on Friday, had granted an ex-parte order that restored the operating license of DAAR Communications Plc, owners of African Independent Television, AIT, and Ray Power FM, which was earlier suspended by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC.

The court ordered both DAAR Communications Plc and NBC to revert to the status quo that was in existence as at May 30, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit before it. The order followed a suit the media establishment lodged to challenge the suspension of its operating licence on Thursday by the NBC.

Read also: https://therepublicannews.net/2019/06/06/just-in-atiku-abubakar-condemns-shut-down-of-ait-warns-against-dictatorship-the-republican-news/

The NBC had based its action on allegation that the media outfit breached its rules and regulations. Meanwhile, cited as Respondents in the suit the plaintiff filed through its lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, were the NBC, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture (FMIC) and the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF.

The plaintiff equally filed an affidavit of urgency, wherein it urged the court to quickly intervene in the matter. Out of three principal reliefs that DAAR Communications Plc sought in its motion ex-parte, the court declined to grant two of them.

Specifically, the plaintiff had sought to restrain the Respondents, its agents or privies, from interfering with its operations in any manner whatsoever, pending the determination of its application for injunctive reliefs. However, in his ruling, Justice Inyang Ekwo, said he was minded to grant the alternative relief to restore the status quo that was in existence as at when the matter was brought before the court for adjudication.

The court therefore issued, “An order for the maintenance of status quo ante bellum as at 30th of May, 2019, pending the hearing and final determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application”. Justice Ekwo said he would not hesitate to sanction the plaintiff, if the court is later convinced that the order was made in error.

Read also: https://therepublicannews.net/2019/06/07/court-quashes-shut-down-by-nbc-orders-status-quo-on-ait-the-republican-news/

More so, the court ordered all the Respondents to appear before it on June 13, “to show cause why the prayers in the applicant’s motion should not be granted”. DAAR Communications Plc had in its affidavit of urgency that was deposed to by one Mr. Kelly Elisha, prayed the court to wade into the matter that led to NBC’s sanction against it.

“The timeous intervention by this Honourable Court is necessary to prevent irreparable damage from being done to the Plaintiff, thus foisting a situation of complete helplessness on this Honourable Court”, it pleaded. In the motion, the embattled media organisation sought for, “An order of interlocutory Injunction in favour of DAAR Communication Plc, the Plaintiff/Applicant (operators of African Independent Television (AIT), RAYPOWER 100.5 FM, FAJI FM and DARSAT), restraining the Defendants, whether by themselves, their agents, operatives, servants and/or privies, howsoever called, from blocking, jamming, stopping, removing from air and/or interfering with the air waves of the Plaintiff/Applicant in any way and manner howsoever, in its broadcast and airing of news, views, documentaries, or any other legitimate broadcast material that is usually associated with television, radio or social media broadcast pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit.

As well as, “An order of interlocutory Injunction in favour of DAAR Communication Plc, the Plaintiff/Applicant (African Independent Television (AIT), RAYPOWER 100.5 FM, FAJI FM and DARSAT), restraining the Defendants, whether by themselves, their agents, operatives, servants and/or privies, howsoever called from invading the premises of the Plaintiff/Applicant, or closing down, viet armis, the said premises, its operations or broadcast services, pending the hearing and determination of the substantive suit”. As part of its grounds for making the application, the Plaintiff/Applicant, told the court that it was the first privately owned Independent Broadcasting Organisation in Nigeria, having been licensed to broadcast on television and radio since 1996.

“The Plaintiff/Applicant has in the best tenets and tradition of broadcast and in compliance with section 22 of 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 as altered, carried out its duties legally, legitimately, morally and nationalistically, in informing, educating and entertaining Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora on sundry matters, which activities have energized and contributed to national development and also nurtured, widened, deepened and strengthened democracy, rule of law, human rights and anti-corruption in Nigeria.

“Since the emergence of the present government, the Plaintiff/Applicant has been under its close surveillance and undue monitoring of its operations by the present government which wrongly believes that the Plaintiff/Applicant had been too supportive of the immediate past government.

“That sometimes on 16th April, 2019, agents of the Federal Government represented by the 1st Defendant, in a Gestapo- like- manner, attacked and pulled down the two gates leading to the Plaintiff/Applicant’s operational Headquarters which damage and destruction run into of hundreds of millions of naira.

“The Defendants and their agents have been writing series of letters with which they harassed and intimidated the Plaintiff over the contents of their broadcast, particularly of late, concerning its social media segment of its morning flagship broadcast show called KAKAKI (the African Voice). “Credible information just reaching the Plaintiff has it that the Defendants have concluded plans to invade and shut down the premises of the Plaintiff and/or part thereof, in the next few days. “Shutting down the broadcast services of the Plaintiff will deny majority of Nigerians access to information which is constitutionally guaranteed, and its teaming workers of their means of livelihood.

“That it is extremely urgent to hear and grant these prayers pending the hearing of the substantive suit, so as prevent irreparable damage which cannot be compensated for on monetary terms from being inflicted on the Plaintiff/Applicant”, it added. NGE condemns suspension of DAAR communications licences, demands reversal

The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has condemned the suspension of the licences of the African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and demanded its reversal. The NGE expressed its view in a statement in Abuja on Friday.

In the statement signed by President of the Guild, Mrs Funke Egbemode, the editors appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to use his good offices to call the NBC to order to revoke the suspension. The Guild demanded in clear terms the revocation of the suspension order as it runs contrary to the ideals of free speech and the fine tenets of press freedom.

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Court Quashes Shut Down By NBC, Orders Status Quo On AIT |The Republican News


By John Chuks Azu

A Federal High Court in Abuja has ordered status quo on the withdrawal of operating licence of the Daar Communications PLC over alleged breach of broadcasting code. Justice Inyang Ekwo on Friday ordered the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the Attorney General of the Federation to appear on Thursday, June 13 to show cause why the motion on notice challenging the action of the regulatory agency should not be granted.

In an ex parte application brought by its lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), Daar PLC operators of African Independent Television (AIT), Raypower FM, Faaji FM and Daarsat had on Thursday asked the court to order status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the main suit.

The NBC had in a letter dated May 27, 2019 accused Daar of breaching the Nigeria’s Broadcasting Code with its Kakaaki and other programmes and subsequently withdrew its licence.

In the suit against the NBC, the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, the Attorney General of the Federation, Daar claimed that it had since the licence of its television and radio stations been conducting its operations in line with Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution. It therefore asks the court to make an order

“restraining the defendants from blocking, jamming, stopping removing from air and/or interfering with the air waves of the plaintiff/applicant (Daar Plc) in any way and manner howsoever called from invading the premises of the plaintiff/applicant (Daar Plc) or closing down, viet armis, the said premises, its operations or broadcast services, pending the hearing and determination of the motion on notice filed along with this application.”

Enumerating grounds for the action, Daar Plc said the defendants had on April 16 in a Gestapo-style invaded its premises and pulled down two buildings and gates leading to its operational office in Asokoro, Abuja worth millions of naira. (Daily Trust)

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JUST IN: Atiku Abubakar Condemns Shut Down Of AIT, Warns Against Dictatorship |The Republican News

PDP Presidential Candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar

The announced suspension of the practising license of DAAR communication by the Nigeria Broadcasting Commission, NBC, is generating reactions from well-meaning Nigerians who see the action of the NBC as a calculated attempt by the FG to gag the media.

The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the just-concluded presidential election, Atiku Abubakar has added his voice to the development. Atiku said he “received with trepidation reports of the withdrawal of the licenses of AIT and Ray Power owned by DAAR Group.

“The Gen. Buhari administration needs to be reminded that freedom of the press and of speech is not only fundamental to democracy, but it is also guaranteed by the constitution.

“Nothing untoward must be done to roll back our hard-earned democracy.”

Speaking via his twitter handle, Alhaji Atiku said “If at this time, we stand by as the Press loses its independence, there will be little to differentiate us from a dictatorship. This should not happen.

“I am a lifelong Democrat and throughout my political life, I have championed the principles of Separation of Powers. The Legislature has been challenged. The Judiciary has been tackled.” (Journalist101)

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BREAKING NEWS: African Independent Television, AIT Shut Down By NBC |The Republican News

African Independent Television, AIT

By Chibiko Ikenna Offor

The Nigeria Broadcasting Commission (NBC) has suspended the license of Dar Communication Plc, promoter of AIT television and RAY POWER FM until further notice.

The withdrawal of their license was announced by the Director General of NBC, Modibbo Kawu on Thursday evening.

He said the action was taken for failure of the broadcasting station to abide by the broadcasting code.

AIT and the regulatory body, NBC has been at loggerheads over one of the segments of a programme on AIT “kakaki social” which the regulatory body said is promoting anti government materials.

Below is the press briefing from the NBC regarding to the indefinite shut down of AIT.

PRESS BRIEFING ON SUSPENSION OF LICENCE – DAAR COMMUNICATIONS, HELD TODAY 6TH JUNE, 2019 AT THE NBC HEADQUARTERS IN ABUJA.

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 2 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.

In one of our meetings, held on 2nd June, 2017, the Commission expressed its disappointment with the way and manner Hate Speech, divisive and inciting comments are applied in discussion of national issues in breach of the provisions of the NBC Act and Broadcast Code.

Again, on 15th August, 2017, it became imperative to invite the company for yet another meeting on almost same issues. Furthermore, while addressing another meeting on 7th February, 2018 we highlighted issues of concern to the Commission which indicated that the company had been breaching the provisions of Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3 of the broadcast Code. The company’s delegates in their response promised to abate the breaches and comply with the law.

However, on October 18, 2018, the Commission was disturbed with the manner in which social media issues became part of the mainstream media unedited on AIT/Raypower, and was constrained to issue a generic letter to all broadcast stations on

the need to exercise caution in the use of user generated content from the social media knowing how volatile and misleading the social media has become. The management of Daar Communication Plc thereafter took to the social media to display our official correspondences.

Recently, 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 Islamizing” 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 27th, 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, 22nd and 23rd May, 2019 without regard to the provisions of the Broadcast Code. The Commission, in line with its regulatory powers again cautioned AIT in another letter also dated 27th May, 2019.

However, instead of making amends, the management of Daar Communications Plc resorted to the use of media propaganda against the regulator. Even the letters from the NBC were posted on social media platforms.

Needless to state that Daar Communications have over the years turned themselves into a bad example of how a professional broadcast outfit should not be run.

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.

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.

SHUT DOWN ORDER

Today the 6th of June, 2019, AIT/Rapower embarked on use of inflammatory, divisive, inciting broadcasts, and media propaganda against the government and, the NBC for performing its statutory functions of regulating the broadcast industry in Nigeria.

Consequently, after several meetings with management of Daar Communications Plc and many letters of warning. The NBC, today 6th June, 2019 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, which states as follows:

(d) where in the opinion of the Commission the station has been used in a manner detrimental to national interest.

(g) where there is wilful or repeated failure to operate
substantially as set forth in the licence

(h), where there is wilful or repeated violation or wilful or repeated failure to observe any provision of this Act or any rule or regulation of the Commission authorised by this Act or by a treaty ratified by the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

(i), where there is violation of or failure to observe any cease and desist order issued by the Commission;

(k), where a provision of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code has been seriously breached; and

The SHUT DOWN order is until further notice.

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