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Obnoxious: FG agency seals Vision FM for airing corruption program on NIA boss

…Slams Vision FM N5m fine.

by Achadu Gabriel, Kaduna

A Federal Government agency, under the current administration, has closedown a private media outfit, the Vision FM, over alleged discussion program aired regarding the appointment of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director-General (DG), Rufai Abubakar, and his alleged incompetence. 

The Vision FM’s managing director on Wednesday received a letter from the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) of alleged sanction of the broadcasting station for airing a content “harmful to the country’s national security” in one of its programmes, titled, ‘Idon Mikiya’ on January 5, 2022.

The Commission alleged that the Abuja-based radio station, Vision FM, breached Section 39 (3) (b) of the 1999 constitution that imposed restrictions on issues relating to government security services or agencies.

“Your discussion of issues, including appointments of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA), constitutes a breach of the provision of Section 39 (3) (b) of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which imposes restrictions on matters concerning government security services or agencies established by law,” the Nigerian broadcasting regulator stated.

The Commission fined the media outlet N5 million and suspended the programme for six months, starting from January 28, 2022.

NBC also claimed that, transmitting trade secrets and other issues regarding a national security agency was an act prejudicial to Nigeria’s national security.

This development came amid Mr Buhari regime’s continued attempt to muzzle Nigerian media, with obnoxious claims.

Recalled that, in August, NBC Director-General (DG), Balarabe Ilelah, vowed that the Buhari regime would continue to dictate to journalists and media houses what to report. He warned that outlets caught flouting the archaic broadcasting codes would be summoned to explain themselves.

In December, the president extended the tenure of Mr Rufai Abubakar as the DG of NIA, despite internal protests against his reappointment.

Top NIA brass and critics of Mr Buhari’s regime had queried the appointment of Mr Rufai Abubakar in 2018. They complained about his (in)competence, nationality, and the motive behind his appointment.

Of the criticisms against Mr Rufai Abubakar’s appointment was how he failed his promotion examinations into directorship rank on three different occasions before being compulsorily retired.

Aside from Mr Rufai being unqualified for the NIA top job, some directors in the agency accused Mr Buhari of tribalism and religious bias in reappointing him.

The extension of Mr Rufai’s appointment, granted in November, took effect from January 10, 2022, the same day he was first appointed as NIA boss in 2018, under President Buhari-led APC Government.

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