The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has described the closure of the African Independent Television and RayPower FM, as shocking and unbelievable.
“This action is unbelievable. Why would government do this in a democracy? This action is unacceptable and will not stand,” Funke Egbemode, president of the NGE, told Punch.
Reacting, John Nwodo, president of Ohaneze, said, “This portends danger for the survival of democratic rule in Nigeria. I’m sure that the courts will be alive to defend democracy.
“This action portends danger for freedom of speech in Nigeria.”
Also, Peoples Democratic Party, said the action was an indication that dictatorship had returned to the country.
It said that President Muhammadu Buhari was behaving like a king, adding that he had forgotten that he was no longer a military ruler.
Uche Secondus, national chairman of the PDP, said Nigerians must rise up and defend democratic rule.
He said, “This action of the government is most undesirable and unfortunate. It is an indication of what to come as the government must be planning to arrest Nigerians indiscriminately.
“It is also an indication that the government has returned the country to military rule.
“President Buhari must know that he is not the king of the country. Rather, he should know that we are in a democracy.
“We are not in a jungle. He should know that there was a country before he assumed office and there will still be a country after he must have left. He should build, instead of destroying.”
Christopher Isiguzo, president of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), said the shutdown would be resisted by journalists in the country.
He said, “This simply signposts the return to the dark days. The NUJ will not accept any attempt by anybody, no matter how highly or lowly placed, to arm-twist or gag the media from freely expressing itself.”
Iziguso said, “If within 24 hours the decision is not rescinded, the NUJ might be forced to act.”
Also, Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the PDP, Femi Fani-Kayode, a chieftain of the party, and Senator Shehu Sani faulted the suspension.
Atiku said, “The legislature has been challenged.
“The judiciary has been tackled. If we stand by as the press loses its independence, there will be little to differentiate us from a dictatorship. This should not happen.”
Fani-Kayode, on his part, warned that the worst was yet to come under the present administration.
Sani said, “The suspension of @AIT_Online is an utterly condemnable act.”
Earlier, the founder of DAAR Communications Plc, Raymond Dokpesi, alleged that its subsidiaries, Africa Independent Television and Raypower FM, were being harassed by the NBC on instructions from the Presidency.
The DAAR chairman lamented the imposition of N500 million licensing fees on private broadcasting organisations while government-owned broadcast stations paid N10 million.