By Emmanuel Nduka
Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, has ordered the closure of an Abuja-based radio station, Vision FM, for discussing issues surrounding the controversial extension of the appointment of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) Director-General Rufai Abubakar.
The order was contained in a letter addressed to Vision FM’s Managing Director on Wednesday, in which the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) claimed it sanctioned the broadcasting outfit for airing content harmful to the country’s national security in one of its programmes, ‘Idon Mikiya’ recently on January 5, 2022.
The Commission pointed out that the station 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 letter read.
The NBC further fined the media outlet N5 million and suspended the programme for six months, with effect from January 28, 2022, claiming that transmitting trade secrets and other issues regarding a national security agency was an act prejudicial to Nigeria’s national security.
It would be recalled that in December last year, President Buhari despite internal protests against his reappointment, reinstalled the NIA DG.
This was even after top NIA brass and critics of Buhari’s regime had queried the appointment of Rufai in 2018, drawing reference to his competence, nationality, and the motive behind his appointment.
One of such criticisms against Rufai’s appointment, was how he failed his promotion examinations into directorship rank on three different occasions before being compulsorily retired.
Apart from Rufai being unqualified for the NIA top job, some directors in the agency accused the President of nepotism and religious bias in the reappointment of Rufai.