The National Broadcasting Commission on March 1, 2019, shut down Jay FM, a private radio station in Jos, Plateau State for alleged breach of broadcasting code of conduct.
The order to shut down was contained in a directive issued by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), the media regulator in Nigeria, which made reference to two previous infractions which attracted warning letters and a fine from the Commission.
At press conference held at the station’s headquarters on March 2, 2019, the managing Director of Jay FM, Clinton Garuba, expressed surprise at the decision, stating that his outfit has not been notified of any further issues after the station was sanctioned on February 18, 2019.
“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?” Garuba wondered.
Garuba blamed the shutdown of Jay FM on “forces within Plateau state government that are not comfortable with the station and had boasted that they would shut down the broadcast outfit before the governorship and State Assembly polls.”
He also accused the NBC of working with the Department of State Services (DSS) to harass the station. The accusation was in relation to the invasion of the station’s premises by the DSS a day before the shutdown order (February, 28).
The security forces demanded to see the Station Manager, Mr. Mangna Yusuf Wamyil. In the absence of the latter, they took away the Head of Engineering, Mr. Ojingwa Oji, who was eventually released after some two hours of interrogation and on condition that the Station Manager himself reports to their office the following day (March 1). As agreed, the Manager, Mangna Yusuf Wamyil, did report to the DSS where he was also interrogated, only for the NBC to announce the station’s closure later the same day.
The MFWA is deeply concerned at the closure of Jay FM by the NBC, especially at this critical moment when Nigeria is gearing up for State elections. We also condemn the serial of acts of harassment to which the station was subjected prior to the closure. We call on the authorities to review the sanctions and allow the station to resume broadcasting.