The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) Nasarawa state chapter, has condemned the demolition of Breeze FM 99.9, radio station in Lafia.
The union described the action carried out by the state government, as “an assault on the media and threat to freedom of the press in the state.’’
The state chairman of the NUJ, Mr Dogo Shamah, made the statement while addressing newsmen shortly after officials of Nasarawa Urban Development Board (NUDB) demolished the radio house.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Breeze FM 99.9, the first privately owned media outfit in the state, was recently commissioned by Gov. Umaru Al-Makura.
However, on May 12, barely two months after the commissioning, NUDB issued the management of the station with quit notice over allegations that the original plan of the structure had been violated.
Despite explanations given by the management of the station, the board notified it on Friday that the demolition would be carried out on Saturday.
Shammah accused the government of not following due process in carrying out the action.
He declared that the haste with which NUDB demolished the radio station, made it clear that the government took the action to gag journalists in the state from carrying out their legitimate duties
The chairman said: “it is an unfortunate development that in a democratic setting, somebody will demolish a radio station serving the common people.
“The government needed to accept that there must avenue for people to air their views.
“It was the same government that commissioned the station; for the government to come up with violation papers is mere excuse.
“This is an assault on journalists in the state; the government is trying to gag the press and stop people from getting balanced reportage.”
Shammah said the state chapter of the NUJ would not tolerate the action, adding that it would write to its national secretariat to take necessary action to avert such development in future.
“We will not tolerate this kind of action, and we will call on the national secretariat to take action.
“We want government to appreciate the role of the media and know that there can be no democracy without the media’’ he said.
He urged journalists in the state to exhibit maturity and be responsible, adding that they should not deviate from their professional duty of unbiased, objective and quality reportage no matter the consequence.