The management of Jay FM, Jos, has suggested that the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) connived with the Department of State Services (DSS) to completely shut down its broadcast operations in the state.
This was contained a press statement by the radio station on the closure order to the station by the NBC.
Addressing the press in Jos on Monday, Clinton Garuba, MD/CEO of the station, accused the NBC of intimidating its staff with the DSS.
Clinton also questioned the state chapter of the broadcasting commission on how it “unilaterally ordered the shutdown without approval from the national body”.
He said: “The Jos zonal office only said it has been directed that the station should shut down operations. To all discerning minds, this suggests that the directive may have been handed down from above, which in itself is an anomaly. The normal and usual process would have been for the zonal office to monitor, sanction, and report to the headquarters. But where the shutdown of Jay FM Jos is concerned, there are sound reasons to doubt if that is the case. To us this is a typical case of the voice of Jacob and the hands of Esau.
“On Thursday 28th February, 2019, at about 3pm, operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) stormed our premises and demanded that the Station Manager, Mr. Mangna Yusuf Wamyil, must come with them to their office. Being that the Station Manager was not available at that time, they insisted that a senior staff must go with them. Hence, they took the Head of Engineering, Mr. Ojingwa Oji, who was eventually released around 5pm the same day on the condition that the Station Manager reports to their office the following day at 10:30am.
“On 1st March, 2019, the Station Manager reported to the DSS and was questioned about the robust coverage Jay FM gave to the impasse in Jos North Local Government Area, when results of the February 23rd presidential and National Assembly Elections were cancelled in Tudun Wada/Kabong Ward, which handed the APC an advantage over the PDP. The Station Manager was later released and asked to return with me, the Managing Director, by 5pm. We honoured the invitation.
“Even though our engagement with the DSS was civil, courteous, and respectful, we wonder what connection exists between the DSS and NBC as it relates to the shutting down of our Station. It is said that when the owl hoots at night, it is instant death for the newborn baby in the morning. When DSS questions us in the morning about election coverage in Jos North Local Government Area, and NBC shuts us down in the night, there must be something connecting the two.”
The MD/CEO of Jay FM, Jos, challenged the commission to give an instance where it breached the law and guidelines of the commission.
He continued: “While announcing sanctions meted to a cross section of media houses across the country on 1st March, 2018, the Director General of the NBC, Mallam Is’haq Modibo, while referring to Bishop David Abioye’s message, said Jay FM Jos was sanctioned for inciting broadcast by a preacher who moved away from religion into the arena of politics. That is the sanction of 16th February, 2019, which we complied with immediately when the commission drew our attention to it.
“So, for the NBC to punish us for the same breach a second time amounts to double jeopardy and that is not equity, neither is it justice. However, the question will be that between the 18th of February, 2019, when Jay FM was sanctioned and the 1st of March, 2019, when Jay FM was shut down, what exactly did Jay FM air to warrant a shutdown?”
The station appealed to the commission to reopen the station to enable them partake in the coverage of the governorship and state House of Assembly election slated for March 9, 2019.
The MD/CEO added that any issue with the radio station could be “settled administratively between Jay FM and the NBC without necessarily involving a third party”, adding that he had signed an undertaking with the DSS to ensure that broadcast by the radio will continue to promote peace on the Plateau and Nigeria in general.