Nigeria: AIT/RayPower Back On Air After Court Overruled Regulator

African Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower radio are operating again after a Federal High Court in Abuja granted an ex-parte order on Friday that restored the operating licenses that had been suspended by Nigeria’s National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) over alleged violation of the country’s broadcasting code.

However, the founder and chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Aleogho Dokpesi had fought back and described the NBC’s action as attempts by the Federal Government to gag the media and suppress free speech. Following the suspension, he released a statement saying that AIT and RayPower had not violated any code of broadcasting as was alleged by the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC.

On Friday, the Federal High Court in Abuja granted an ex-parte order and restored the operating license of African Independent Television, AIT, and Ray Power FM. The court ordered both NBC and DAAR Communications Plc to revert to the status of operations that was in existence before May 30, pending the hearing and verdict of the substantive suit before it. The order came following a suit the media establishment had lodged to challenge the suspension of its operating licence by the NBC.

Following news of the suspension, the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) came out in full support of DAAR Communications Plc and condemned the actions taken by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) and demanded the reversal of the suspension.

 The NGE expressed its views in a statement provided to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Friday. In the statement that was signed by the President of the Guild, Mrs Funke Egbemode, the editors urged President Muhammadu Buhari, to call the NBC and order it to revoke the suspension.  

Former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar has also weighed in on the matter saying that NBC’s recent closure of the Africa Independent Television, AIT, and Raypower FM had a reminder of the ugly days of military dictatorship which stifled press freedom in Nigeria. He added that if the press is not free, the situation will eventually lead to dictatorship and eat away at the democratic gains recorded in the past few years.

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