The National Broadcasting Commission has shut a private radio station, Jay FM, in Jos, Plateau State, for alleged breach of broadcasting code of conduct.
The Managing Director of the station, Clinton Garuba, disclosed this at a news conference he addressed yesterday, describing the allegation the NBC brought against as unfounded and political
At the conference held at the head office of the station, Garuba accused the Department Security Services (DSS) and the NBC of conniving to shut down the station.
He said the shutdown directive came in a letter on Friday night, which referred to previous letters of warning and fine on two separate issues dated February 16 and 18 respectively.
“While the former was a warning for airing a ‘News Sound Bite’ by Bishop David Abioye charging his followers on how they should vote, the latter was a N100, 000 fine for airing a News Commentary titled ‘does Buhari deserve a second term?’ authored by a listener,” he said.
“The question is will be that between the 18th of February 2019 when JAY FM was sanctioned and the 1st of March, 2019 when JAY FM was shut down, what exactly did JAY FM air to warrant a shutdown?” Garuba asked.
Garuba said a claim by NBC that its broadcast might lead to a breakdown of law and order was not true, challenging the commission to cite an instance any misconduct.
Garuba urged to the NBC to reopen the station before the governorship election to enable it inform the electorate and also to mobilise them to partake in the election.
Garuba said the reason for shutting the station was not tenable, adding that the action was targeted at preventing it from covering the March 9 governorship and State House of Assembly election.
He insisted that there “are forces within Plateau state government that are not comfortable with the station and had boasted that they would shut down the broadcast outfit before the governorship and State Assembly polls.
“After the widely applauded coverage we had during the Presidential and National Assembly election, the NBC claimed that station’s continued broadcast may lead to breakdown of law and order.
“As ground breaking as this allegation appears to be, the commission did not give one instance where the station was involved in any form of breach or improper conduct that would warrant a heavy sanction as a shutdown.
“The NBC, Jos Zonal Office only, said it has been directed that the station be shutdown. The normal and usual process would have been for the Zonal office to monitor, sanction and report to the headquarters. But they did not do this.
“To us, this is a typical case of the voice of Jacob and the hands of Esau, especially as we know that there are forces within the Plateau State Government who are not comfortable with Jay FM and have boasted that they would shut down the station before the commencement of the governorship and State House of Assembly elections.”
The NBC could not be immediately reached.