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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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Corruption Getting Worse Under Buhari, Says Onaiyekan |The Republican News

EFCC Acting Boss, Ibrahim Magu

 •Magu should step aside, says Oyebode 

•We didn’t reject EFCC boss’ confirmation –Senator

From James Ojo, Abuja, John Adams, Minna and Romanus Okoye

From John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja Diocese, came a bombshell on President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft war yesteray. He scored the government’s war against graft low.
He spoke on the State of the Nation on Kaakaki, a programme on African Independent Television (AIT) in Abuja.
This is even as Professor of Law  and Jurispudence, Akin Oyebode, said yesterday that the Acting Chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) Ibrahim Magu, should step aside.
Onaiyekan, speaking on the programme, lamented that the nation was on the state of an emergency on every sector.
“Corruption is worse under this government, it is widespread and virtually everyone is involved, I doubt if anybody can stand by and say I am not part of it, this is why I say that we are in an emergency,” he said.
The war against corruption which the Buhari government placed premium on suffered a major setback when his appointee, Ibrahim Magu, was purportedly rejected by the Senate as EFCC chairman.
Also, some key officers of the Presidency had come under allegations of involving in acts inimical to the anti-corruption crusade of the government.
According to Cardinal Onaiyekan, recent developments in government showed that corruption has eaten deep more than expected.
“The war against corruption was not succeeding because the system of doing things in the country has been corrupted by those who had served the public in the past and even now in the present.
“If we are to be sincere, the system is corrupt and it will be difficult to change the system. We must admit that everyone in government should not be allowed to carry home huge amount of money.
“There is legal corruption and this is one of the major problems. Legal corruption is killing us. We take millions legally and can’t be charged to court.
“For instance, you have members of the National Assembly going home every month with millions without doing much, this has to stop,” the Cardinal said.
The cardinal tasked the Federal Government to rise up to the challenge of good governance, saying that more should be done in all sectors.
He called on religious leaders to correct the ills in the society and admonished public office holders to be more interested in the welfare of the masses.
Meanwhile, Oyebode said Buhari should look for an alternative candidate to replace Magu. This is even as Senator David Umaru (Niger East) re-echoed Senate Leader Mohammed Ndume’s comment last week that the Upper Chamber did not reject Magu’s confirmation.
Oyebode urged the President to look for another candidate so as to restore Nigerians’ confidence in his fight against corruption.
Oyebode spoke on live TV programme that there appears to be operational dysfunction between the agencies in the Presidency where “the left does not know what the right is doing and the right does not know what the left is doing.”
He said the President ought to have been briefed on the security report on Magu since the Department of State Services (DSS) works on advisory role to the Presidency. This, Oyebode said, would have saved the government the embarrassment caused by Senate’s purported rejection of the confirmation.
“I do not know the veracity of the allegations. But Magu no longer enjoy the credibility as before. He will no doubt lack the effectiveness to continue with the job after security reports were given by the Senate as reasons for rejecting his confirmation. The President needs somebody that will give bite to the anti-corruption war; we have had such in the past.
“At present, the Presidency seems to be in quagmire. You cannot give what you do not have. There is issue of credibility. People think the President has not done enough to fulfil his promises.
Oyebode, who is also the Chairman, Office of International Relations, Partnership and Prospects, University of Lagos, alleged that there may be conspiracies by those who do not want Magu to be there.
“Magu seems to have intensified the anti-corruption fight,” he said.
“But if the President was aware of the report, maybe he would have nominated another person. And that maybe what he may ultimately do because the Senate appears stock to its position.
“The President has done well in the area of security. He has put Boko Haram to where it belongs; though he still needs to assuage other agitators like IPOB, Niger Delta forces etc. However, he needs to put the right people in the right places, maybe re-jig his cabinet.
“The President is said to be a procedural person, but there are things that are more expedient than ordinary process. He needs to re-order things. He needs to fight hunger. He needs to be decisive on the issues of herdsmen. People accuse him of not acting because he is a Fulani,” Prof. Oyebode said.
Meanwhile, he advised the President to forward the name of the Acting Chief Justice of Nigeria, Chief Justice Walter Onnoghen to the Senate and allow the lawmaker to decide if he is fit.
“He has the requisite qualifications. I don’t know the alibi the President will come up with. He should remove that albatross of leaving the man in acting capacity from his neck. The man should be duly appointed because leaving him in acting capacity is unacceptable,” he noted.
Meanwhile, Senator Umaru said yesterday that the Senate did not reject Magu’s nomination.
While some Senators want Nigerians to believe that the confirmation of Magu had been rejected by the Upper Chamber of the National assembly, Senator Umaru pointed out that the issue had never been discussed at the Senate plenary and therefore, it was not possible for anybody to conclude that he had been rejected by the Senate.
“If somebody says it was rejected, it was probably a mistake, but as for me, I have not voted, the Senate operates by rules. The rule is that this thing must be presented to us either by the committee or through direct interaction with the members in plenary none of this has happened”.
“The issue of Magu was discussed only in the executive session of the Senate, it was not an issue discussed at plenary, so, anything done in the executive session is not the same thing as that done in plenary, so as far as I am concerned, the issue of Magu, the consideration of his nomination, was never considered by the Senate”.
Umaru, who is the Chairman, Committee on Judiciary, Legal Matters and Human Rights, stated this in Minna during an interactive session with newsmen, insisting that “ the issue of Magu was never voted on in plenary, so as far as I am concerned Magu’s nomination was never rejected”.
Senator Umaru disclosed that the matter was only referred to the Presidency “so that they can clarify the issue raised by the DSS and send it back to the Senate for consideration.” (The Sun)

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