Group Condemns Shutting Down Of AIT Rivers Office, Blames Wike


….Banning Journalists from Aso Rock by Presidency is treacherous, undemocratic

Leading media affiliated Civil Rights Advocacy body:- HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA) has described as worrying and despotic, the recent actions against a section of the Nigerian media by President Bola Tinubu and the Rivers state government acting specifically against African Independent Television on behalf of Nyesom Wike.

HURIWA reminds the immediate past Rivers State Governor Mr. Nyesom Wike that election is over and the pre-election war within the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which allegedly made him hate African Independent Television because of its affiliation to the now departed legendary and astute media pillar of Nigeria High Chief Raymond Dokpesi the founder of AIT, should be seen as a fight that should be consigned to the dustbin of history just as the Rights group demanded that erstwhile powerful Rivers state governor Mr. Wike who is now the FCT minister should allow his successor whom he personally railroaded into office to govern Rivers State Independently and stop inheriting perceived ‘enemies of Nyesom Wike’ in the new political dispensation in Rivers state.

HURIWA expressed shock and consternation that President Tinubu whose reputation was largely enhanced because he is a renowned media owner, wondered why his government should pick and choose media houses that will cover the State House.

“It is a disappointing Irony that it is a government headed by a media/newspaper publisher of distinguished repute and a tested and trusted Television proprietor is the same that has just unleashed a reign of dictatorship against media houses that he perceived as not being Pro-Tinubu from covering the State House Abuja as if Aso Rock is his personal property.”

The Federal Government recently withdrew the accreditation of some 25 journalists from covering activities at the Presidential Villa, Abuja. It stated that the banned journalists include those from the Vanguard; Galaxy TV; Ben TV; MITV; ITV Abuja; PromptNews; ONTV, and Liberty.

HURIWA kicked against the ireational, undemocratic, unconstitutional and entirely unacceptable decision, thus: “it beggars belief that Tinubu who as a leading activist during the infamous General Sani Abacha’s military Junta, utilised the services of the media for virtually free of charge, to wage tenacious pro-democracy battles against tyranny, but now as the elected president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, he, ASIWAJU BOLA AHMED TINUBU, the Jagaban of Borgu kingdom, has engaged in selective war against perceived independent media.”

HURIWA stated that disqualifying reputable media outlets who even worked seamlessly under the terrible tyranny that was former President Buhari’s regime, is the lowest that Nigeria can get even as the group said the action violates section 22 of the 1999 constitution which states thus : “The press, radio, television and other agencies of the mass media shall at all times be free to uphold the fundamental objectives contained in this Chapter and uphold the responsibility and accountability of the Government to the people”.

HURIWA regrettably recalled that in a related development, the Rivers State Government shut down the operations of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM in Port Harcourt.

DAAR Communications PLC, in a brief statement on Sunday by AIT Editor, Terverr Tyav, said the management was taken by surprise by the shutdown as the government had not given it any notice of the shutdown.

According to DAAR, the contractors disconnected the wave guard from the mast’s antenna while riggers were dismantling the mast.

It added that bulldozers were also deployed to demolish the Transmitter Complex at the DAAR Communications PLC Broadcast Centre in Port Harcourt, the River State capital.

“Management of the Company has been taken by surprise following the sudden turn of events as efforts were in top gear to resolve issues with the State Government amicably but the no notice incident is a heavy source of concern,” DAAR stated.

“Some of officials of the telecommunications contractor told that they were working on directive from above to start demolition on Sunday despite the heavy rains as against a later date.”

The land on which the AIT/RayPower transmission station is located has been a subject of dispute between the state government and Daar Communications, Plc.

In March, the state government, under the directive of former governor Nyesom Wike, now minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), issued a quit notice to Daar Communications, ordering it to vacate the land.

The government quit notice reads, “Following the imminent commencement of GRA Phase 5 project, the structures impacting on the Right Of Way have been earmarked for demolition, including your own.

“Consequently, you are by this notice requested to remove Structures within 48 hours to allow for speedy progress of work.”

HURIWA has resolved to send a letter to the minister of FCT urging him to ‘let my people go’, by allowing his political stooge to untangle the ban on the operational presence of Africa’s most respected Television station- AIT from Rivers State. HURIWA said shutting down AIT offices from Rivers is indirectly denying Sons and daughters of Rivers who are bonafide staff if the company in Rivers from remaining gainfully employed. The Rights group said it is against public good and interest to shut down AIT from Rivers State just as the Rights group asked the Rivers state government to let AIT breathe.




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