Ban on AIT: Buhari the Dictator is back! by Toni Kan

Ban on AIT: Buhari the Dictator is back! by Toni Kan

In 1984, two journalists, Nduka Irabor and Tunde Thompson were jailed by military dictator, General Muhammadu Buhari under the infamous Decree 4 which sought to curtail and suppress press freedom.

Thompson was the diplomatic correspondent of The Guardian while Nduka Irabor was an assistant editor when they were both arrested by the secret police, the National Security Organisation (NSO).


There was a huge outcry because The Guardian, just one year old, had in that space of time become Nigeria’s most respected newspaper. Set up by business man Alex Ibru, The Guardian guided by Stanley Macebuh and his co-travellers, brought a new kind of journalism to Nigeria. One that was forthright, unencumbered by sentiments and not beholden to the government just like the Daily Times and other government owned newspapers were at the time.

Buhari and his sidekick, Tunde Idiagbon were not moved. They sentenced the duo to one year imprisonment each for reporting about the sack of some diplomatic staff.

Why this history lesson? The internet is abuzz with news that General Buhari who has taken up residence at the Defence House, Abuja in readiness for his eventual move into Aso Rock has banned the African Independent Television, AIT from covering his activities. An AIT crew is reported to have been asked to leave and not cover a meeting between General Buhari and a Cuban diplomat.

This action, if true, portends grave danger for Nigerian journalists; citizen journalists, affiliated journalists, and independent bloggers. What it means is that press freedom is about to become an oxymoron as it was in 1984.

A president-elect who is already barring press men from events, one month before inauguration, may well see nothing wrong in jailing them and General Buhari has history on his side.

On twitter and elsewhere General Buhari’s supporters are already defending General Buhari and citing examples from America and how Obama barred the Boston Herald from covering White House events but no one has bothered to remember that Fox TV has remained a thorn in Obama’s flesh yet they are invited to every White House event.

They forget that some Nigerian newspapers and online platforms were unofficial mouthpieces for the APC who made life unbearable for Goodluck Jonathan with hilarious memes lampooning him and his wife as well as outright malicious reports that skirted the lines of decency and ethics yet, not one of them was ever barred or censored.

So, why is General Buhari attacking AIT? Why is this born again democrat reverting to dictatorial tendencies? Well, the answer is simple; old habits die hard and for all those yapping on social media in defence of the indefensible there is only one advice – be afraid, be very afraid!

General buhari

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About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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  1. Ade

    wow! well written article addressing salient national issue but if I may ask, just because of election; Is it ideal to bribe a media house in order to keep on tarnishing someones image? is it ideal for a media house to be affiliated to Government? do you think AIT wasn’t bias in her reporting prior to 2015 presidential election? infact, if not in a democratic setting, AIT deserves to be BANNED!

  2. Mark C. O. Charles

    No matter what, press freedom should not be banned. GEJ was so insulted yet he didn’t bann any media outfit. You who want to pray for Buhari please pray about this, otherwise be very afraid!

  3. Daramola Tunde

    The likes of Ade never cease to amaze me? Even APC’s chief propagandist, Alhaji Lai Mohammed has come out to offer some sort of apology? Are in a manner of speaking, insinuating that APC, perhaps the party’s god-figure, paid his Radio Continental, TV Continental (TVC) and Lai Mohammed’s mouth organ, The Nation newspaper and sundry media houses (blatantly) loyal to APC for all the bashing and lampooning GEJ got from them prior to the election? As the author said, ‘old habits die hard.’ I am a member of APC and a journalist. It is because of things like these that I reserved doubts for Buhari’s candidacy and never supported him. If I had thought I was wrong, is he not proving me right already even before he assumes power? Can’t he at least, exercise little decorum by waiting a couple of weeks to take over before baring his fangs on his most hated clan – the press? Can Ade mention one media house in Nigeria that wasn’t bias in one way or the other before and during the election? Cast your minds back to the 2011 general elections, was the media space not heavily polarized? How would he have felt if GEJ had banned (or out-rightly proscribed) media houses that were opposed to his candidature then? I’ve always said that it is only in Nigeria that what is good for the goose can only be good for the gander when it is convenient for APC’s gander. Buhari’s action is condemnable and should be so treated by all well-meaning Nigerians, regardless of our ethnic, religious or party affiliation.

  4. Tom

    Gen.. Buhari has called his aides to order, definately this was not his directive but overzealous aides again are stoking the fire, this is a recent antecedent of bad governance which we should jettison as a nation. The Gen. Knows this is a democracy and not martial rule.


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