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NBC Revocation Of Licences Of Media Houses Is Totally Unacceptable By Achike Chude

August 19, 2022

That the government of the day has surpassed all historical boundaries of infractions in our country is also not a matter of debate. 


It gets worse for the government that Nigerians went out and voted for in 2019. To say that the government is headed to a perilous humiliation is no longer news. The tragedy is that it will take us all with it - if we allow it. 


That the government of the day has surpassed all historical boundaries of infractions in our country is also not a matter of debate. 


To revoke the licences of an unprecedented fifty-two media houses in one fell swoop is the brazen stuff that even the worst dictatorships would be envious of. To do it so close to an extremely pivotal general election when the nation state is under a very tenuous existential threat is the highest level of provocation a government can threaten its citizens with. 


Not even the worst of military dictatorships in the darkest period of our nation's history could be this dastardly, perfidious, disdainful, and reckless. 


President Muhammadu Buhari should realise that the country he promised to govern in accordance with the dictates of the nation's constitution is slipping away from him. 


This precipitate action of revoking licences of media houses on the bases of fees owed government is an overkill, and an extremely dangerous one at that. 


Perhaps the NBC, having tried for so long to recover said debts had lost all patience and decided to wield the big stick. But why exercise the use of the hammer against the fly when the broom would do? The option of the indefinite suspension of the errant media houses would have sufficed and achieved desired results rather than the fatal punishment of revocation. 


It has often been said that the determination of levels of democracy in a society is determined by the level of freedom the media enjoys. If the media is relatively free, then the society is deemed to be relatively free.


It is doubtful that the president, Muhammadu Buhari is aware of this unseemly, deleterious and anti-democratic diktat by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to revoke said licences. If he is and allowed it, then the country is in greater peril than being speculated. If he is not, then the danger is even more accentuated.


We must remind the president of his past avowals back in 2007, 2011, and 2015 that his testimony to the democratic ideals lay in his continuous fight in our law courts to challenge perceived electoral heists against him in past elections in which he participated.


On the other hand, while castigating the NBC for this action, we will be remiss if we cannot call out the various media organisations for failure to meet their financial obligations to the federal government. 


While it is possible that some people could argue that the issue of the license revocation might be an excuse for the government to carry out an unwholesome agenda against perceived critics, the question would then be why the so-called perceived critics allowed themselves to fall into the trap in the first place. Why fall into a hole that you knew was prepared for you?


Our president once said that despite the myriads of the politico-socio-economic contradictions of the Nigerian state under his watch, he still hopes that history would be kind to him. 


As bad as the verdict of history might today be in his assessment, one way to possibly court history's favourable disposition would be for him to ensure an immediate reversal of the NBC action, while we call on the affected media organisations to show greater responsibility and live up to their obligations.


It is imperative that all hands must be on deck to do whatever it takes to rescue our country from the calamitous direction it has been headed for so long now. 


This latest impasse and imbroglio will not help in arresting the drift.