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Broadcasting commission suspends licence of private radio station

(MRA/IFEX) - On 11 May 2009, the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Nigeria's broadcast sector regulator, suspended for two weeks the broadcast licence of a private radio station.

Adaba 88.5 FM, based in Akure, the Ondo State Capital in southwestern Nigeria, was suspended for failing to pay a fine of five hundred thousand naira (approx. US$3,350) imposed on the station on 27 April 2009. The radio station was given until 8 May 2009 to pay or face a higher sanction. The station failed to pay the fine and its licence was suspended. The NBC also warned the station of a more severe sanction, should the station fail to comply.

Consequently, a combined team of security operatives stormed the premises of the station and shut down its operations, preventing it from transmitting, on alleged "orders from above".

This action comes after months of harassment - including a fine for allegedly transmitting on 25 April "materials that were capable of inciting members of the public to violence and consequently leading to breakdown of law and order".

Announcing the suspension of the station's licence, the NBC said: "The Broadcast license of Adaba FM, an Akure-based FM station, has been suspended by the National Broadcasting Commission for two weeks with effect from today, Monday, May 11, 2009. The suspension followed the failure of Adaba FM to comply with an earlier sanction of five hundred thousand naira (approx. US$3,350) imposed by the Commission for the contravention of sections 3.1.2 and 1.4.4 of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code."

Adaba Radio covers about seven states in the southwest and north-central parts of Nigeria and ran reports and commentaries on Governor Segun Mimiko's battle to reclaim his mandate from ex-governor Segun Agagu, as well as the recent gubernatorial election re-runs in its neighbouring Ekiti State.

However, its focus on these and other political issues led to complaints and insinuations by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which did not find the station's news reports favourable.

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