The real reason the governor of Zamfara shut down TV and radio stations

On Saturday evening, the Zamfara State Government announced the closure of some broadcast stations.

Two of the affected stations belong to the federal government while the other three are private.

In an announcement made on Radio Zamfara by the State Information Commissioner, Ibrahim Dosara, Mr. Matawalle ordered the immediate closure of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Gusau, Federal Radio Corporation Pride FM Gusau, Al’umma TV, Gamji FM and Gamji TV.

In the announcement which was repeated several times in the Hausa language, Mr Matawall also asked State Police Commissioner Kolo Yusuf to ensure full compliance with the order.

There is no indication that Zamfara’s government has obtained permission from Nigeria’s broadcasting regulator, NBC, to sanction media houses.

Information Commissioner Dosara and Governor Spokesman Zailani Bappa did not respond to calls and text messages for further comment on the order.

The state government gave no reason for its action, other than that the stations violated government order and journalistic practices.

PREMIUM TIMES has now learned from sources in the state that the media organizations involved were shut down because State Governor Bello Matagall was upset that the stations were airing the gubernatorial candidate’s campaign event. opposition, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP. , Dauda Dare, Friday.

How journalists angered Matawall

Ahead of the order banning broadcasting stations, the state government, through Mr. Dosara, issued a statement on Friday banning, among other things, all political gatherings in the state until further notice.

Mr Dosara said the decision was due to the resurgence of terrorist activity in the state.

He said the governor ordered the immediate suspension of all APC meetings and activities as part of his government’s concern and sympathy for the people and communities attacked by bandits.

“Stakeholders invited to the APC Stakeholder Meeting on Friday are asked to wait for a new date for the meeting.

“Furthermore, the government has suspended all political activities in the state until further notice.

“Political meetings and gatherings in individual residences are also banned with immediate effect.”

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Nigeria’s electoral commission, INEC, which regulates campaigning and electoral activities, had previously announced the start of campaigning for the 2023 general elections across the country.

Possibly backed by the INEC guideline but in apparent defiance of the Zamfara government’s directive, PDP candidate Mr. Dare returned to Abuja state to receive thousands of supporters during a a rally broadcast by broadcasting stations.

“The governor was angry,” a senior source at Zamfara government headquarters told PREMIUM TIMES.

“If you knew him, you would know he hates it when someone tries to put him down. He can take any action,” said the source, who asked not to be named as he does not have the permission to speak to journalists.

“He wanted to send a message to the opposition but it’s a political season and I think he’s wrong.”

He added that Mr. Matawall immediately ordered his information commissioner to question the general managers of the stations as to why they broadcast the PDP rally.

“I don’t know what happened during the discussion. Perhaps the journalists disagreed with the government’s demands. But I knew the decision to close them was made because of that action,” he said.

Clash between APC and PDP

Meanwhile, the PDP rally welcoming its candidate for governor of Abuja ended in violence as supporters of the ruling APC clashed with those of the PDP.

Following the violent clashes at the event, the APC accused the PDP of inciting violence by attacking innocent residents, but the opposition party accused APC supporters of attacking its members who attended the rally.

At least one person has been confirmed dead while 14 others have suffered various injuries, according to a statement from State Anti Thuggery Committee boss Bello Bakyasuwa.

He said the 14 injured were taken to Yariman Bakura Specialist Hospital for medical treatment.

Subsequently, in a statement, the publicity secretary of the APC in the state, Yusuf Idris-Gusau, said that the government would not “look at this matter in abeyance because these criminals are trying to introduce into the state capital what we have always accused them of doing at the fringes.

He said the opposition party had halted the monthly sanitation exercise. He alleged that party members shot residents during the event.

“Security agencies should also find out how and where the PDP/Dauda boys have secured such dangerous firearms as we believe they have others in their custody awaiting use in the upcoming general elections in 2023,” he added.

But in a swift reaction, the PDP claimed that it was APC-sponsored thugs who attacked its members.

Mr. Dare, in a statement, said Mr. Matawall was stifling the democratic process.

He argued that their rally was in tandem with the disposition of the Independent National Electoral Commission announcing the start of gubernatorial campaigns.

“Today the thugs led by an Aliyu Alhazai Shinkafi, the former Chairman of the Zamfara Anti-Bandit Committee and Commander of the Zamfara Road Traffic Agency (ZAROTA) attacked the residence of the gubernatorial candidate of the PDP. Thugs led by Alhazai barricaded the road leading to the residence and the place of Lawal, defining the parameters of the attack. In the new unprovoked attack, our campaign buses were vandalized and looted.

“We know that the APC and the government led by Matawall intend to use illegal force to stop our campaign activities across Zamfara. The hooliganism we weren’t praying for has returned to the state. The problem is cause for concern. »

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