The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) have faulted the Zamfara State government’s shutting down of broadcast houses.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate Dauda Lawal held a political rally on Saturday; with the Zamfara administration shutting down the stations that were reporting it.
Media bodies, however, have responded, saying the behavior was inappropriate.
“The National Broadcasting Commission has noted with serious concern the illegal action of Zamfara State Government; directing the shutdown of operations of licensees of the Commission in the State,” the Director-General of NBC, Balarabe Illela, said.
“The NBC has clearly 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…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.
“The Commission will not relent to discharge its mandate according to the NBC Act, CAP. NII, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004. All broadcast license holders are urged to ensure strict compliance; and avoid ANY action inimical to democratic governance and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
Also, on its part, BON said it received the development with disbelief.
“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 shut down Federal and private broadcast media houses in Zamfara State,” BON’s Executive Secretary Yemisi Bamgbose said in a statement.
“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…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.