“We call on the NBC not to politicise its duties or allow itself to play into the hands of politicians.”
The Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Imo State Council, has expressed displeasure over the closure of Ozisa FM Radio, Owerri.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the station belonged to the Owerri Catholic Archdiocese.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) reportedly shut down the station, following its report on the 17 July killing of some youths who were said to be returning from a wedding ceremony.
The slain youths were said to be returning from Owo-Omama in Oru West Local Government Area, after the ceremony, when men suspected to be operatives of Ebubeagu, a security outfit in the state, opened fire on them.
In a statement issued in Owerri and made available to reporters on Monday, the Imo NUJ decried the closure of the station and alleged “politicisation” of the incident.
The statement, which was signed by the Caretaker Committee Chairman of the union, Precious Nwadike, said the only crime the station committed was that it reported the massacre of the wedding guests.
“As a union, we are only aware that Ozisa FM as part of its constitutional responsibility as enshrined in section 22 of the 1999 Constitution, reported the gruesome murder.
“We call on the NBC not to politicise its duties or allow itself to play into the hands of politicians.
“Ironically, the suspension of Ozisa FM is coming at a time every well-meaning Nigerian and organisation is condemning the genocide,” the statement added.
It further stated that the union would not keep quiet and allow politicians to destroy the nation’s democracy.
Meanwhile, the Commissioner for Information in the state, Daclan Emelumba, in a statement on Sunday, denied Imo Government’s involvement in the station’s closure.
Mr Emelumba described those accusing the government of being responsible as naïve.
He stated that NBC had earlier shut down the station for employing a “quack” as presenter.
He further stated that the current ordeal facing the station could be connected with the same reason.
Mr Emelumba added that the state government did not have such power to regulate the activities of the media.
Governor Hope Uzodimma had earlier dissociated Ebubeagu from the killing, saying that it was done by operatives of the State Security Services in Imo.
Mr Uzodinma alleged in an interview with reporters that the slain youths were members of the Eastern Security Network, the militia arm of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra that has been terrorising the state.