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BON, NBC Condemns Shutdown Of Broadcast Stations By Zamfara Govt

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The Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON) alongside the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had condemned the Zamfara State Government for shutting down the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Gusau, and the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN)’s Pride FM for allegedly violating government order and journalism practice.

However, in a statement issued by the Zamfara State Commissioner for Information, Alhaji Ibrahim Dosara, in Gusau on Saturday, the government revealed that other media organisations sanctioned were Gamji TV, Gamji FM, and Al umma TV which is privately operated and the closure of the stations was approved by the State Security Council.

“The Commissioner of Police had been directed to arrest and prosecute personnel of the affected stations caught violating the order,” the statement said.

Reacting to the shutdown, the Executive Secretary of BON, Yemisi Bamgbose has said in a statement “The Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria(BON) has received with total shock and disbelief the order made by the Governor of Zamfara State, Bello Matawalle to shutdown Federal and private broadcast media houses in Zamfara State,”

“We hasten to state that the Governor not only lacks the constitutional power to issue such an order, the order is also an arbitrary and a naked abuse and misuse of executive power.

“The power to licence or withdraw the licence of a broadcast media is vested in the National Broadcasting Commission established by an Act of Parliament. Even at that, the Constitution and the Act did not give any room for arbitrariness in the exercise of the power to impose sanctions talk less of closure of broadcast media on any agency or any level of government including the Federal Government, without following the laid down procedure and seeking an order from a court of competent jurisdiction. This position of the law has been upheld by the law courts at various times.

“The closure of the Federal and private broadcast media by the Governor is equally an affront against the Electoral Act 2022 which should be curbed immediately before it destroys our nascent democracy.

“Also, the NBC in a statement issued and signed by its Director-General, Balarabe Shehu Ilelah, urged the security agencies to ignore the call to restrict staff of the affected stations from conducting their legitimate duties.

The statement reads, “The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with serious concern the illegal action of Zamfara State Government by directing the shutdown of operations of licensees of the Commission in the State, on Saturday, October 15, 2022.”

“The NBC has notified the State Government of the gravity of the illegality and requested it to expeditiously reverse the directive and apologize to the people of the State. We also urge the Security Agencies to ignore the call to restrict Staff of the affected Stations from conducting their legitimate duties.”

“The Commission wishes to further emphasize that it will resist any attempt to cause a breach of law and order anywhere through the misuse of the broadcast media in Nigeria, before, during, and after the 2023 national elections.

“We call on all industry stakeholders to resist any attempt to truncate the hard-earned democratic gains in Nigeria.”

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