Raymond Dokpesi, the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of DAAR Communications Plc, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of stifling free speech by working to shut down African Independent Television and Raypower FM.
He made the allegations while speaking to newsmen at a press conference in the company’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.
Dokpesi said, “I believe very strongly that under the leadership of the current Director General of the NBC (Is’haq Kawu), press freedom has been greatly eroded. If this was not protected by the President at the top, is it possible that his body language is being interpreted?
“I have it on strict authority and very assured information that the highest echelons of government, the Presidency, queried and challenged the NBC that they were not doing their jobs: ‘How on earth could they be hearing and seeing on AIT what they termed hate speech?’
“Any criticism of this government is hate speech. The NBC is acting under the authority of the President and Commander-in-Chief. The licensing fees in Nigeria is one of the highest in the world. There is no country in the world where you have this type of exploitative fees. I have appealed for a reduction because the payments cannot be sustained by private broadcasters in Nigeria.
“This economy has plummeted. This government has called this organisation unprintable names which has deterred several advertisers from patronising AIT. I sought an audience with the NBC DG. I called, sent letters and sent text messages to him, but he refused. In spite of the fact that we have to run generators 24-hours of the day, I remain committed to keeping the spirit of broadcasting alive.”