Founder and former chairman of DAAR Communications Plc, Raymond Dokpesi, has alleged that president Muhammadu Buhari is attacking his subsidiaries, Africa Independent Television (AIT) and Raypower FM, through the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Speaking in a press conference at the company’s corporate headquarters in Abuja on Thursday, Dokpesi said he had received reports of several AIT employees been trailed by unidentified gunmen while exiting the office premises.
Dokpesi said the demolition of DAAR headquarters’ perimeter fencing by the Federal Capital Development Agency exposes the property to external attacks.
He 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,” he said.
Dokpesi added that he was displeased with the imposition of N500 million in licensing fees to private broadcasting organisations while government-owned broadcasters paid N10 million.
“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,” he said.