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AIT still in trouble as Police, SSS surrounds premises after station resumed operation

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AIT STILL IN TROUBLE AS POLICE, SSS SURROUNDS PREMISES AFTER STATION RESUMED OPERATION

 

With Nigeria’s foremost private broadcast station, African Independent Television, AIT and its other arms coming back on air late last night after it was shutdown by the National Broadcast Commission, NBC, one would have thought the broadcast firm is back to normalcy until heavily fortified security operatives of the Nigeria Police Force and the State Security Service stormed the premises in the early hours of today, Saturday June 8th 2019.

 

Government bans AIT/Ray Power indefinitely

 

The alarm to this latest development was raised by the Group Managing Director of DAAR Communication Mr. Tony Akiotu speaking who said shortly after AIT commenced operation that 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.

Breaking! Court orders NBC to reopen AIT/Ray Power

 

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”.

 

 

Recall that BlackBox Nigeria had reported that 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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

However, 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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