Socio Economic Rights and Accountability Project has told the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to direct the National Broadcasting Commission to withdraw the revocation order on debtor stations.
NBC had announced on Friday that the debtor stations’ licences had been revoked and that they had 24 hours to cease operations, but the deadline has now been extended until Wednesday.
However, SERAP, in a letter dated August 20, 2022 and signed by its Deputy Director, Kolawole Oluwadare, called for the withdrawal of the revocation order.
The group urged Buhari to “urgently instruct Mr. Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, and the National Broadcasting Commission to urgently withdraw the threat to revoke the licences and shut down the operations of 53 broadcast stations in the country over alleged failure to renew their licenses,” adding that, “The threat to shut down 53 broadcast stations is neither necessary nor proportionate. If carried out, it would offend the legal principles of equity and equality of access to mass communication.”
The News Agency of Nigeria also quoted the Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria as appealing to the NBC to rescind the decision.
The union’s General Secretary, Mr Akpausoh Akpausoh, made the call in a statement made available to journalists on Sunday in Abuja.
Akpausoh described the action by the NBC as “untimely.”
He said, “Information is the oxygen of democracy. This truism has stood the test of time and in all climes. Therefore, Nigeria cannot be an exception.
“It is on the basis of the above that Radio, Television, Theatre and Arts Workers Union of Nigeria has no other option, but to advise the NBC.
“The commission has the unreserved constitutional right to revoke the licences of radio and television stations that have not done the needful.
“However, the prevailing climate makes such an action untimely and fraught with grave consequences.
“This is because most of these stations were yet to recover from the COVID-19 shock.”
Akpausoh also said as a trade union, RATTAWU was worried at the multiplier effects that the action of NBC would have on the workers.
He added, “Shutting down media stations invariably leads to disengagements of workers, which results in an influx into the unemployed market and its attendant consequences.