Attack on Press Freedom: AIT Barred From Covering Buhari

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Muhammadu Buhari

Muhammadu Buhari, president-elect, bars the African Independent Television from covering his activities

THE African Independent Television, AIT, has been barred from covering the activities of General Muhammadu Buhari, president-elect until further notice. AIT crew, who were at Defence House, venue of a meeting between Buhari and a visiting Cuban delegation, led by its Ambassador to Nigeria, were asked to leave the vicinity by security advisers to Buhari citing ethical issues as reasons for their action.

One of the members of the crew, who wishes anonymity said: “Yes, we were told but we cannot just leave; we have a job to do. In any case, we have not been officially informed about what we have done wrong”.

Garba Shehu, director of Press of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Campaign Organisation, confirmed the development, saying concerns over security and the need to sort out some ethical issues were responsible for the action.

“AIT has been asked to stay aside based on security and family concerns. In addition, General Buhari has decided that they will have to resolve some issues relating to issues of standard and ethics. We will be talking with them to try and resolve the matter but for now, the station has been asked to stay aside because, like I said, there are some family and security concerns. They have been asked to step down their coverage until we resolve the matter with them on ethics and standards,” Garba said.

It should be recalled that AIT during the political campaigns aired a documentary detailing  atrocities committed by the military when Buhari was the head of state between 1983 and 1984.

However, this latest development is seen as an attack on press freedom. Some people, who spoke to Realnews, who wishes anonymity, said that Buhari should not have barred the television but should have gone to court to sought out whatever issues he has with the station in accordance with rule of law and democratic practice.

However, the All Progressives Congress has overruled Buhari, stating that all acreditated media houses should cover the president-elect’s activities.

— April 28, 2015 @ 6.52 GMT

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