The International Press Centre for Safety and Protection of Journalists (I-CSPJ) has described the closure of Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM operations in Port Harcourt by the Rivers State Government as unacceptable and a violation of the rule of law.
I-CSPJ in a statement signed by the press freedom officer, Melody Akinjiyan, expressed concerns over the closure of the stations by armed operatives.
Executive director of the centre Lanre Arogundade said the closure of the media outlets was another attempt to stifle press freedom in the country and warned that the state government should immediately stop actions towards that course.
The statement read “The Rivers State Government should come open with any grievance it may have against AIT/Raypower in the State and refrain from further arbitrary self-help like the demolition,” he said.
Arogundade advised the Rivers State Government to allow AIT and Raypower FM to continue its operations and seek legal redress if it believes the media outfits have committed any offence.
Daar Communications Plc had on September 3rd, 2023 announced the closure of the stations by contracted telecommunications engineers accompanied by armed security operatives.
In another development, the I-CSPJ decried the reported threat on the life of a veteran journalist, Ikem Okuhu, who was on Friday, August 25, 2023 accosted by two men who introduced themselves as officers of the Nigerian Police, Enugu State Command at the burial of the father-in-law of his younger brother at Umabor, Eha Alumona Nsukka.
Further, the I-CSPJ said they were deeply worried about the situation of Okuhu and called on the Nigerian government and the security agencies to ensure that he is not harmed in any way.
The centre enjoined people who were aggrieved over the reports by Okuku to seek redress through legal channels instead of attempting to resort to extra-judicial self-help.