The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on Friday slammed the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) , protesting that the revocation of the operational licences 52 broadcast station is the country is hasty.
The NUJ on a statement on Friday faulted the order to shut down the station, saying it is ill-advised.
NUJ National President, Chris Isiguzo, in the statement declared: “The decision today by the industry regulator, the National Broadcasting Commission – NBC, to revoke the licenses of 52 broadcast stations nationwide over indebtedness to the Commission was ill-advised.
“The affected stations, according to NBC are said to owe arrears of licence fees amounting to N2.6 billion since 2015.
“Although the Director General of NBC, Malam Balarabe Shehu Ilelah claimed that this development had no political motives, we insist that the action was ill-timed and reckless.
“It should be noted that this wholesale revocation of licences at this critical time of insecurity in the Country appears to be a decision taken without careful prior deliberation, consultation, or counsel.”
The NUJ argued that in the face of the economic hardship, the “large scale clampdown of broadcast stations is disregard to security issues and the attendant consequence. We cannot afford the unpleasant outcome of such a media blackout at this time.
“We call on NBC to exercise more restraint on this issue in consideration of national security and allow for more dialogue and consultation to find a better way of dealing with the situation.”
NBC had earlier on Friday announced the revocation of the operational licences of several television and radio stations, citing non-renewal pf their licences.
NBC declared: “In view of this development, the continued operation of the debtor stations is illegal and constitutes a threat to national security.”
The commission issued the stations an ultimatum of “24 hours to shut down their operations”; directing its officials across the country to “collaborate with security agencies to ensure immediate compliance”.