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REJECTION OF PROPOSAL TO GAUGE THE PRESS IN KWARA ST

Dear Sir,

REJECTION OF PROPOSAL TO GAUGE THE PRESS IN KWARA STATE

Kwara Must Change wishes to express its outright displeasure with the
news item that emanated from the Kwara State House of Assembly (KWHA)
regarding a proposed attempt to gauge the press in Kwara State,
particularly the ban of live political programs on all broadcast
stations in the State. We reject in entirety, the content of this anti
democratic plan and urge the KWHA to abort it with immediate effect.
Specifically, the Kwara State House of Assembly (KWHA) after
deliberation on a motion titled ‘’The need for all broadcast stations
in Kwara to comply with NBC codes and regulations’’ directed the
office of the state commissioner for justice to make a strong
representation to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to ban
live partisan political programs on all broadcast stations in the
state. The house asked the commissioner for justice to write to the
NBC to compel political parties to limit their discussions on the
broadcast stations to their party manifestos. The resolution also
added that no reference should be made by parties to the activities of
other political parties or government headed by other political
parties. The house further directed the initiation of the withdrawal
of operating license of any broadcast stations that violates the NBC
codes and regulations.

We at Kwara Must Change holds that, the resolution of the house is a
misplaced priority and an act of mischief that is capable of
jeopardizing the current peace enjoyed in the state. Kwara Must Change
consider the spending of tax payers money and the state’s scarce
resources on such frivolous mission as insensitive to the plight of
the people and we condemn this insensitivity in the strongest term. We
equally urge the lawmakers to avoid any act of legislative rascality
that is unknown to any sane democratic society.
It is important to state that, every Nigerian, irrespective of
political affiliation is guaranteed of his or her basic human rights,
among which includes rights to press, freedom of expression, thoughts
and conscience, which can be expressed either privately or publicly.
These rights are inalienable and are properly protected in Section 39
of the 1999 constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. To
therefore suggest that any Nigerian be banned from exercising their
constitutional right on broadcast stations is nothing but an act of
tyranny and high level impunity that should not be associated with any
responsible legislative chamber.
More importantly, it is not within the capacity of the Kwara State
House of Assembly (KWHA) to help National Broadcasting Commission
(NBC) carry out its constitutional duty of enforcing codes and
regulations. If NBC felt that any broadcast station in Kwara State
has bridged any code or regulation, it would take appropriate action
to sanction the affected station.
We therefore find it strange that the Kwara State House of Assembly
(KWHA) is attempting to usurp the powers of NBC by imposing on itself,
the duty of law enforcer in media practice or attempting to influence
the NBC to take actions that are unknown to law.
Kwara Must Change make bold to say that, broadcast stations in Kwara
State, like others in other parts of the country have not violated any
NBC code by hosting live radio programs that is discussing and
educating the public on government policies as well as giving people
from the affected areas the opportunity to contribute via call in
contribution.
Additionally, we have observed that all through the federation, there
are civil and political programs on radio stations that are being
anchored by citizens irrespective of political affiliation and we
understand that being part of a political party doesn’t strip any
citizen or group of citizens off their basic rights, neither can NBC
prevent healthy public discussion that is aimed at educating the
public simply because some politicians or people in government are not
comfortable with critical analysis of their programs.
Kwara Must Change is a conscious civil and political advocacy movement
and we understand that the resolution of the KWHA, threatening the
revocation of operating license of public serve broadcast stations is
to say the least unfortunate.
Similarly, the directive asking NBC to sanction stations is misplaced,
because the house cannot be teaching NBC it job. If the NBC feels that
any broadcast station has violated it code, it doesn’t require the
service of KWHA to perform its constitutional duty. It is our
understanding that, NBC is a responsible organization that is not
answerable to KWHA, it codes and regulations is not limited to Kwara
State broadcast stations and neither can it create special preference
for Kwara State simply because some politicians are uncomfortable with
public opinion about their performances on radio stations.
Finally, Kwara Must Change reaffirms its total rejection of the
unconstitutional proposal of KWHA to gauge the press in Kwara state
and we urge them to desist from such anti masses agenda to avoid
invoking the anger of the people. We warn, most respectfully, that
should the house not desist from this defeatist agenda, we shall be
forced to mobilize citizens in protest to shutdown the KWHA.
OUR DEMANDS
Specifically, we demand as follows
• We demand that the motion on ’’the need for all broadcast stations
in Kwara to comply with NBC codes and regulations’’ be dropped in its
entirety and the house should desist from further attempt to gauge the
press in the state. We maintain that NBC does not require the service
of KWHA to carry out its constitutional duty.
• We demand that the KWHA issue public apology to all broadcast
stations in the state for wrongly inferring that they violated NBC
code, which is actually untrue.
• We demand a public apology from KWHA to the good people of Kwara
State for attempting to undermine the people and prevent them from
being properly informed of issues.
• We demand an immediate halt in funding frivolous trips to Abuja
under the guise of discussing violation of NBC code and further
spending of tax payers funds on frivolous missions such as this.

Abdulrazaq O Hamzat
Convener
Kwara Must Change

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