A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has ordered the reopening of African Independent Television (AIT) and Ray Power FM.
In the ruling, Justice Ekwo Inyang ordered the parties to maintain status quo as the situation was as at Friday, May 31 when the processes were filed.
Justice Ekwo asked the parties to appear before the court on Thursday, June 13 to show cause why the motion on notice challenging the action of the regulatory agency should not be granted.
In an ex parte application brought by its lawyer, Mike Ozekhome (SAN), the owners of the media outfit had on Thursday, June 7 asked the court to order status quo ante bellum pending the determination of the main suit.
The matter has been adjourned to Thursday, June 13.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) had on Thursday, June 6, announced the suspension of the licences of AIT and Ray Power belonging to the Daar Communications Limited.
The NBC director-general, Modibbo Kawu, stated this at a press briefing in Abuja, saying the media houses’ shutdown was until further notice.
The offences listed by the NBC included the airing of a presidential election documentary by the AIT, a matter pending before a tribunal, the inability of the company to pay its fees, the use of “divisive and inciting contents from the social media” among others.
The owner of Daar Communications Limited is High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftain.
Dokpesi had alleged that his affiliation with the opposition PDP is the reason for the alleged current bias being meted to his company.
Reacting to NBC's action, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the PDP presidential candidate in the 2019 general elections, described it as a slide into dictatorship.
“Buhari administration needs to be reminded that freedom of the press and of speech is not only fundamental to democracy, it is guaranteed by the constitution. Nothing untoward must be done to roll back our hard earned democracy,” Atiku wrote on his Facebook page.
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